Tough Time For First Time House Buyers


County Down first-time buyers still facing housing market challenges despite 1% fall in house prices.

 Across County Down,  first-time buyers are still finding it difficult to get on the housing ladder despite new figures showing house prices in Northern Ireland have fallen.

Co-Ownership, a not-for-profit organisation seeking to help people in Northern Ireland into affordable homeownership, says that despite a 1 per cent fall in house prices in Q2 2018, the fact remains that year-on-year average house prices in Northern Ireland have rose by 4.4 per cent.

House prices in the Newry Mourne and Down District Council area fell by 4.8 per cent in Q2 2018, according to the latest Northern Ireland House Price Index, published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). However, year-on-year house prices in the area rose by 4.1 per cent (Q2 2017 – Q2 2018).

Mark Graham, Chief Executive of Co-ownership.

Though average house prices remain significantly lower than their peak in 2007, affordability is still a cause for concern for many first-time buyers; but there are options for prospective homeowners to support them onto the housing ladder, the organisation stresses.

Co-Ownership Chief Executive Mark Graham says that as house prices continue to rise, coupled with the recent interest rates hike, first-time buyers are feeling the strain more than ever.

“We’re seeing house prices rise at twice the rate of inflation and paired with stagnant wages and the recent rise in interest rates the pursuit of homeownership for young people is becoming ever more a distant aspiration. Research indicates that many young people could still be in a cycle of private rent into retirement age.

“The housing market is unforgiving for the first-time buyer despite average house prices in Northern Ireland being the lowest across the UK, but there is a silver lining in what can seem a murky landscape.

“Through Co-Ownership a buyer can choose a property anywhere in Northern Ireland up to a value of £165,000 and purchase shares in that property between 50 and 90 per cent. Often, you don’t need a deposit when purchasing through Co-Ownership.”

For more information, visit:

or call (028) 90327276. You can also visit the Co-Ownership’s office on Murray Street, Belfast, where team members are available to help with any queries.




Co-Ownership is Northern Ireland’s main provider of shared ownership and has helped over 27,000 people onto the property ladder since 1978. Now in its 40th year, the popularity and demand for the product is constantly growing, testament to the organisation’s ability to adapt and overcome the barriers to home ownership that home buyers have faced over the years. One of the unique features is that Co-Ownership can help customers who do not have a deposit and can be cheaper than renting.  Today the organisation has an active customer base of over 8,000 households.

With Co-Ownership, prospective homeowners can purchase a share of their chosen property (between 50% and 90%) up to a maximum purchase price of £165,000 anywhere in Northern Ireland. The homeowner would arrange a mortgage for their share and pay rent on the remaining share. If they choose to, homeowners can increase their share of the property by purchasing additional 5% shares, or if their circumstances allow, they can purchase the remaining share in one go.

Co-Ownership is regulated and part funded by the Department for Communities.