Northern Ireland continues to have the highest proportion of homeowners in the UK at over 72%, according to the 2002-2003 edition of the Council of Mortgage Lenders' National Markets Review.
However, the overall size of the Northern Ireland market is small compared to the UK as a whole. Just 3% of all mortgages in the UK are in Northern Ireland, and they account for only 2% of the value of mortgages in the UK.
Borrowers in Northern Ireland typically borrow more in relation to their incomes than the UK average. In the second quarter of 2002, for example, borrowers in Northern Ireland borrowed an average of 2.34 times their incomes, compared to 2.04 in Scotland and 2.11 in Wales.
Gary Mills, chairman of CML Northern Ireland, says: “The current political uncertainty is, of course, very unhelpful to the Northern Ireland economy and the housing market is no exception. In addition, while the Northern Ireland market continues to perform well, we still have concerns about affordability which has worsened in recent years.”