Housing Market Analysis

Housing Market Analysis is an important planning tool for housing development. It takes account of current housing market trends and identifies potential future imbalances in the housing market.  Housing Market Analysis reports therefore provide a detailed and rigorous inter-tenure analysis of the housing market to complement our housing need assessment.

Two themes run through Housing Market Analysis:

  • The need to base local housing analysis on functional market areas that have some intrinsic rationale rather than simply on the basis of administrative boundaries;
  • The need to integrate analysis of housing need with a more general investigation on how housing markets work. This should be based on a more accurate and fuller understanding of consumer choice and the impact of market responses to economic investment.

Brexit and the Northern Ireland housing market

When the UK-wide referendum on EU membership was held in 2016, the majority of voters in Northern Ireland (56%) opted to remain in the EU.  As the only part of the UK that shares a land border (totalling some 310 miles) with an EU member state, the region is in a unique position, and many of the practical implications for trade, day-to-day movement and cross-border bodies and services that have been developed over the last two decades to meet the needs of largely rural communities on both sides of the border remain unclear.

In recognition that Brexit is a complex issue that has the potential to have wide-ranging consequences for numerous day-to-day matters, the Housing Executive’s Research Unit commissioned RSM to scope the potential impacts on Northern Ireland’s housing market based on data on current travel patterns, the housing market and perceptions of key agencies. The research drew on existing literature, interviews with migrant groups and estate agents, a survey of social landlords and analysis of data on migration and the drivers of the housing market.

The report was produced in July 2019 following research conducted earlier in the year. Therefore, additional data that has been produced since Spring 2019 has not been included in the analysis. Additionally, the study did not model the precise impacts of the different Brexit scenarios (such as ‘no deal’ Brexit). This study research was intended to help the Housing Executive and other stakeholders to understand perceptions and plan for any possible housing supply and demand issues that may arise in certain locations as a result of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. During the course of the study, Brexit negotiations within Westminster have proceeded in an unpredictable fashion, with the range of options being suggested widening rather than becoming clearer. This means the dominant theme of this study has been the level of uncertainty around what Brexit will involve, across all sectors of the economy, and all parts of the UK, none more so than Northern Ireland with its land border with the Republic of Ireland. Nevertheless, there are some conclusions that can be drawn which help to understand the current situation of migration, migrants living in Northern Ireland, the current housing market and those most at risk if cross-border trade is disrupted.

Brexit and the Northern Ireland housing market

Mapping Northern Ireland’s Housing Market Areas, 2018

We commissioned the 2018 Housing Market Areas study to enhance understanding of the concept of functional housing market areas, and to update the suite of 11 broad housing market areas (HMAs) that were originally defined in 2009.

About the report

  • The updated Housing Market Areas (HMAs) set out in the report are primarily intended to provide the Housing Executive with a spatial framework to support its analysis of local housing systems and its internal strategy development processes.

  • However, the HMAs should also assist local authorities to more clearly understand the broad HMA of which their local area is part. This in turn should help to clarify which local authorities should look to collaborate in planning for housing development across the broad HMA.

Mapping Northern Ireland’s Housing Market Areas 2018 report

Migrant Workers and the housing market (2014)

In 2013 the Northern Ireland Housing Executive commissioned a study to examine the effects of migrant workers on two housing markets.  The research involved undertaking two housing market analyses, using these to compare and contrast the impact of migrant workers on the local housing markets of Dungannon and Larne district council areas.

Migrant Workers and the Housing Market Report.

The mapping of Housing Market Areas in Northern Ireland was first carried out in 2009, and established eleven functional housing market geographies. You can download the report below: 

Northern Ireland housing market areas (publication date April 2010)

Following on from this study, a Belfast Metropolitan Area Housing Market Analysis pilot was concluded in 2011 and Housing Market Analysis reports for other areas of Northern Ireland were also published:


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