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Sluggish outlook for property

A senior Bank of Ireland manager believes that Northern Ireland will see a period of adjustment in house prices over the next two years.

Head of research Alan Bridle said he does not consider that the Northern Ireland market will see a concentrated period of adjustment in house prices, as some commentators have suggested. He does not believe there will be a recession in Northern Ireland but warns it will be a tougher year.

Bridle said that the biggest theme for the housing market in Northern Ireland this year and beyond is inactivity and a lack of transactions.

He said: “Transaction levels will remain sluggish in the first half at least. Those people that are hoping for a speedy improvement by the spring are being very optimistic.”

He forecast that this year and 2009 will see broadly flat house prices but added that there is little evidence of forced selling.

Bridle said there will be a focus on retention of profitable business by lenders rather than aggressively chasing new “marginal” business.

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