House prices in Northern Ireland have seen their biggest quarterly fall in a decade, according to new figures.
The House Price Index report for the first quarter of 2023 showed that prices fell by 1.8% between the final quarter of 2022 and the first one of 2023.
However, prices were still up over the year, with the average house price now standing at £172,005.
The report also revealed that the number of residential properties sold in the first three months of this year fell to 4,280, down from 6,142 in the previous quarter.
The worst-performing council area since the end of last year was Ards and North Down, which saw a fall of 4.8%.
The best performance was seen in Causeway Coast and Glens, where prices rose by 0.7%.
Richard Ramsey, chief economist NI for Ulster Bank, said that more bad news could be on the way for mortgage holders, with at least one more interest rate increase to 4.75% likely this year.
He said that the markets are getting carried away by forecasting hikes up to 5.5%, but that he still thinks it won’t go above 5%.
Mr Ramsey highlighted evidence of a further tightening of the property market in the new house price figures. As well as an overall fall in prices here, it was also the worst first quarter for completed housing units in eight years.
He said that prices are likely to hold up this year amid “more people chasing fewer homes”.
The fall in house prices is being driven by a number of factors, including rising interest rates, which make it more expensive to borrow money, and a slowdown in economic growth.
It is also being exacerbated by a lack of supply of housing, as the construction industry has been hit by labor shortages and rising costs.
The fall in house prices is good news for first-time buyers, who will now be able to afford to buy a home more easily. However, it is bad news for homeowners who are hoping to sell their homes for a profit.