Northern Ireland’s Housing Market: The Prospects for Recovery, the Role of Mortgage Markets and the Perspective in an Era of Public Expenditure Constraint

Joe Frey, Paddy Gray

Research output: Other contribution


For many years Northern Ireland’s housing marketwas constrained by the economic uncertaintyand commensurate lack of investor confidencewhich accompanied the era of political conflictwhich euphemistically came to be called the“Troubles”. Indeed, during the 1970s and inthe early 1980s Building Societies had a policyof “red-lining” certain areas of Belfast andother towns: no mortgages were to be givenfor dwellings located in these areas regardlessof the circumstances of the mortgage applicants.As a result, for example, the leafy suburbs ofmiddle class North Belfast which was situatedclose to some of the major flashpoint areaswent into serious decline. With the onset of the“Peace Process” in the early 1990s things beganto change dramatically. This article begins byexamining the key factors behind the transformationof Northern Ireland’s housing marketfrom one characterised by lack of investor confidenceto one characterised by the greatestlevel of “irrational exuberance” of all regionsof the United Kingdom. On this basis it looks atdevelopments and issues for each of the threehousing tenures. Developments in the mortgagemarkets are seen as a critical factor in normalisingthe both the owner-occupied and privaterented sectors, but the speed of recovery willundoubtedly be a reflection of the severity ofthe expected reductions in public expenditure.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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