RISE in interest rates did little to deter Northern Ireland buyers at the start of 2022, according to new figures from Danske Bank.
Posting its financial performance for the first quarter of the year, the lender said mortgage approvals were up 25% from the same period last year.
However, Danske Bank said the vast majority of buyers in Northern Ireland are now opting for fixed rate mortgages.
Some 88% of the bank’s customers opted for a fixed option in the first quarter.
This comes after interest rates in the UK fell from 0.25% in December 2021 to 0.75% in March 2022.
Analysts predict that the Bank of England could raise the rate to 1% for the first time since February 2009, when its monetary policy committee met on Thursday May 5th.
Danske Bank’s head of UK operations, Vicky Davies, said the northern housing market “remained buoyant in 2022”, adding that “successive rate hikes by the Bank of England have not had any impact. impact on transaction levels”.
The Danish lender said improvements in Northern Ireland’s economy saw its pre-tax profits rise to £16.7million in the first quarter, up 6% from the same period in 2021.
The lender’s revenue for its Northern Ireland business rose 13.8% year-on-year to £53.5m
Ms Davies said after pausing expansion plans during the pandemic, her lending data showed small and medium-sized businesses were starting to invest again in the first quarter.
When UK government-backed rebound lending was excluded, Danske Bank said SME lending was up 36% year-on-year.
However, he said lending to large corporations remained “subdued as many continue to hold excess cash.”
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has introduced additional economic uncertainty – adding to existing challenges associated with the pandemic, Brexit, supply chain constraints and rising inflation,” said Mrs Davis.
“We continue to closely monitor these factors, in particular how our personal customers are affected by the rising cost of living and increased cost charges for business customers.
“Despite local and global economic challenges, we remain well positioned to continue to support our customers and the wider economy in the year ahead.”