Housing costs in the North are only half what they are in London, figures showed today.
Both mortgages and rents were 50% cheaper in the North than in London, according to experts at the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Even though the North was the only UK region to show an increase in annual house price inflation in December, the average cost of buying a property in Northern Ireland was £119,261 (€173,700), compared to £257,195 (€374,600) in London.
There was an increase in annual house price inflation rates from 13.5% in November to 16% in December, figures from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister showed.
Over the same period, house price inflation fell in England from 13% to 10.1%, in Wales from 24.1% to 20.8%, and in Scotland from 19.5% to 13.6%.
In London, house price inflation is running at just 3%.
Desmond Turley, a partner at the Belfast-based independent estate agency network Ulster Property Sales, said that there was more activity in the North’s property market than elsewhere in the UK.
“Our market here is healthy, but you can still buy property that is very good value. Affordability is still possible and first-time buyers are still being looked after,” he said.
He said that certain types of property – such as Victorian houses – were highly-sought after, and that certain areas, particularly in Belfast and North Down, were seeing strong demand.
But he said that prices were reasonable compared to Britain, and that new land made available for development meant that costs remained realistic.
Housing costs showed the greatest variation in price of the 360 goods and services checked in 65 locations across the UK, the ONS survey found.
The cost of buying items such as food and cigarettes, however, was generally the same across the UK.