Mid Ulster is set to outshine the rest of the province with a projected five to seven per cent growth in the area’s property prices this year, according to a local expert.
The very positive forecast came shortly after the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) revealed that “Northern Ireland house prices will increase by 4% in 2015”.
And with the rest of the UK set to see an average increase of just 3%, the projection suggests that Cookstown, Magherafelt, Maghera and their surrounding areas will experience an anticipated growth rate above even London.
When asked about RICS’s 4% growth estimate, Shaun Burns, a partner at Magherafelt based Burns & Co said: “I think if anything it’s a little bit on the conservative side.
“Towards the last half of 2014 we did see an increase - not just in demand or in transactions where we have seen probably an increase of sales transactions of about 70% in comparison to 2013.
“I think that prices are definitely on the increase,” he added. “I would forecast a price increase for 2015 of between five to seven per cent... taking in the whole Mid Ulster area for Magherafelt, Cookstown... Coagh and all the suburb areas as well.
“What we have is not just confidence in the re-sale sector, but we’re going to experience a high growth in the new home sector in 2015,” he went on.
“In Magherafelt we have upwards of 150 houses coming online to be built in the first half of 2015.
“For a couple of those we are just waiting on the final go-ahead, but developers are saying that it’s going to be early 2015.
“They’ll be spread throughout Magherafelt, Maghera and there’s word of Cookstown - sort of the peripheries as well.
“Right throughout Mid Ulster, and throughout 2015 we are going to see an increase in new developments, which is encouraging.”
Although admitting it is hard to predict prices, Mr Burns added: “Your average new-build semi price is probably going to be in the region of around £135,000.
“The average sort of detached new-build price I would envisage being around £150,000 to £160,000.”
“Where new houses are concerned, there’s always a higher demand [and] prices are always that little bit higher, but that in turn will also have a very positive effect on the re-sale market and the existing market - and existing stock levels will swell.
“I do see prices increasing this year, we’ve already seen an uplift in demand and I think that’s going to continue further.”