Belfast Property Market and Real Estate Guide
(Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK)
The turbulent history of Belfast, the capital and the largest city in Northern Ireland, has largely been put to bed, although bad feeling between Protestants and Catholics can still flare up in some areas. Despite this, the city is a fun place to live and it is growing more affluent and appealing by the day, with lively bars, nice architecture and a number of good art galleries and shops.
Much like the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland's housing market has suffered greatly at the hands of the economic downturn. There are signs, however, that things are starting to recover, so if you're thinking about buying or renting in Northern Ireland, now is a good time to do it.
In the south of the city there is a large student population who attend Queen's University, so properties in this pleasant, leafy area are mainly rented. Terraced streets and tree-line avenues can be found in East Belfast and this is where many out-of-towners choose to buy. Trouble can still arise occasionally in North and West Belfast, and so be extra wary of buying here.
Renting Serviced Apartments
Fully-furnished, luxury apartments are available in Belfast's most affluent areas, albeit at a high premium. The area around Botanic Avenue, close to the city's commercial district, has some short and long-stay apartments, and anywhere around Lisburn Road and the BT9 postcode is a good place to look.
For short-stay leases, tenants will normally have to commit to just one month, while other landlords require the signing of a contract of at least six months. Serviced apartments usually come fully-furnished, but be aware that the monthly rent for a fully-furnished apartment in a desirable area could be twice that of a normal, unfurnished flat.
Buying Apartments and Houses
The most important thing to consider when buying a property in Belfast is the area, as you may find it very hard to sell on or rent for a decent price if you pick an unstable part of town. That said, some traditionally troubled areas are starting to mellow, so you could get a good bargain if you're willing to take a gamble.
Buying property close to the university or anywhere around the BT9 district can be lucrative if you plan to rent the property out, although you must register this intention with the local authority and jump though a number of hoops to do so. A lawyer will also need to be hired for the transfer of deeds and taxes on all properties.
Real Estate Agents
Like anywhere in the world, finding the right real estate agent in Belfast is one of the most important factors when buying a property. Some have notoriously bad reputations but large portfolios, so it is good to do your homework before you decide. Online property forums often have advice about which agents are good and bad.
Check out the following Belfast real estate agents:
Address: Cathedral House, 23-31 Waring Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT1 2DX, UK
Tel: +44 (0)28 9043 6611
Trinity Partnership sells some very elegant properties in and around Belfast.
Address: The Metro Building, 6-9 Donegall Square, South Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT1 5JA, UK
Tel: +44 (0)28 9027 0000
Osborne King deals in modern properties and has friendly and helpful staff.
Gerry O'Connor Estate Agents
Address: 147 Stranmillis Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT9 5AJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)28 9066 2366
Gerry O'Connor Estate Agents has some 15 years of experience and a good reputation.