House prices

‘North Shore house prices pushing locals,’ says Sugden

East Londonderry MP Claire Sugden said that selling and rental prices are now “a prohibitive price” for the large number of inhabitants of cities such as Portstewart, Portrush, Castleock and beyond.

“This trend has been seen for many years,” said Ms. Sugden.

“During the previous boom, property prices here also far exceeded those in the rest of Northern Ireland.

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“It happens again. Prices are fired by a number of factors, including the prevalence of second homes and cash buyers from other parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Many owners who may have already rented long-term properties choose to take advantage of higher prices and sell, while others are launching on the holiday rental market.

“The result is that there are very few houses to rent and those that exist – or are for sale – are out of reach for many who live and work in the area.”

The local MP said increasing the number of second homes can have “significant ripple effects on public services”.

“For example, if young families are increasingly incapable of finding properties in a city, local schools can become sub-prescribes, which has even led to the long-term closure,” she continued .

“This type of trend can affect a variety of services, so a long-term plan is needed to prevent this from happening.”

The poor provision of private and social housing has also been a major factor in what Ms Sugden called the ‘housing crisis‘ on the North Coast.

“This neighborhood needs more homes – both private and social,” she continued. “Developers must be encouraged to build here, with ministers taking the lead in ensuring this happens.

“We also need to see more targeted social housing projects here.

“What was traditionally a problem mainly for coastal and tourist towns is now spreading to neighboring towns such as Coleraine.

“Residents are finding it increasingly difficult to find, let alone afford, homes in the towns where they have spent their entire lives.

“Various options exist for the executive and for ministers to sue, but little has been done, although I have repeatedly brought it to their attention.

“As prices continue to rise elsewhere and people struggle to put food on the table and heat their homes, people here are now finding that their very homes are under threat from the high prices.

“The government must listen to the difficulties in this area – and others across Northern Ireland.

“Something has to change if we want to allow people to buy a house in their own city,” concluded the MP.