Published Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Residential property prices rose by 2% between the first and second quarters of this year, according to the Northern Ireland Residential Property Price Index.
All house types, including detached, semi-detached, terrace and apartments, increased in value.
House prices were down 3% over the year because of market drops in the second half of 2012.
According to data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), the standardised residential property price for all types of home was £96,327 during the three months ending in June.
Detached houses were worth £153,063 and terraced £62,690. Semi-detached properties sold at £95,903 and apartments were £76,884.
In areas like north Down, Carrickfergus and Lisburn, the price across all properties was £107,535 compared with £91,165 in the west and south, which took in Armagh, Fermanagh and Newry.
The west and south was the only area to show a quarterly decrease of 1%.
However, prices there increased by 4% between the final quarter of last year and the start of this year.
Overall prices were highest in Castlereagh on the outskirts of Belfast and lowest in Craigavon in Mid Ulster.
The agency said it was still too early to say if the property market had bottomed out.
Alan Bronte, commissioner of valuation for Northern Ireland, said the cost of houses in relation to incomes had reached a more normal level, from nine times gross salary at the peak down to four times now.
"Most people are buying a house for a home that they will pay back from their normal income," he said.
"Houses are much more affordable now than they have been in many recent years and we want to see that maintained because people need a home."
Mr Bronte said in 2006/07 people were buying property as an investment.
A lot of people who bought near the peak are trapped in their homes by negative equity, where the house is worth less than they bought it for, meaning any sale will not pay off their mortgage.
He added: "There remains a problem for a sizeable group of people, a concern for the economy and a concern for the market that there is negative equity, but we don't wish to see that (price) graph go straight back up again to bring people out of negative equity, we don't want it to rise at the level that it was rising at in 2006/07."
Stormont Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said: "It is promising to note that this is the first quarter since 2007 that an increase has occurred and confirms the views of local commentators that the property market here is beginning to stabilise.
"Over the long term, the index shows that the local market has rebalanced with prices at pre-2005 levels."
© UTV News