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pounds 70,000 The price of a DERELICT house in Belfast.

Byline: By DONNA CARTON

YOURS for pounds 70,000 - a large, Victorian red-bricked house, spacious rear yard and er... that's all we can say about the derelict.

Such is the property boom in Northern Ireland that estate agents are selling bricked-up houses that can only be viewed from the outside.

The houses, mostly in north Belfast, are currently on the market although potential buyers can't view their rooms - or see if they have any.

One estate agent blurb even reads: "We presume this is a four-bedroom property, two reception rooms, kitchen and bathroom.

"The property is blocked up and can only be viewed from the exterior."

That house, on Skegoneill Avenue, north Belfast, is on the market for around pounds 69,000 and is already under offer.

Another period residence on the same street, bricked up and "requiring complete refurbishment works" was up for pounds 49,950 and is also under offer.

Another derelict property in the east of the city, close to the busy Newtownards Road, is on sale for offers in the region of pounds 65,000.

Ulster Property Sales described it as an ideal purchase for a builder or investor "seeking to modernise a property in this location."

It adds: "As this property has no access we would stipulate that we could recieve cash offers only.

"However, as properties in the east Belfast region rarely come on the market at this price, we recommend an early observation to avoid disappointment."'

Some people may be shocked that anyone would pay pounds 70,000 for a derelict property, but once refurbished they can fetch more than pounds 200,000 - making a healthy profit for developers.

University of Ulster Property Professor Alastair Adair said the prices revealed how bouyant the market is in Northern Ireland at the moment: "Way back in 1994, when the ceasefires were declared, buyers, mainly from England, bought empty properties in north Belfast, some for as little as pounds 3,000 or pounds 4,000.

"Some of them may now, in the wake of our house price boom, be cashing in on that investment, offloading their properties in a bouyant market."

And, with prices still rising, there is no shortage of buyers for these buildings.

Prof Adair said: "There are plently of builders seeking plots of land to be developed in all parts of Northern Ireland.

"And, of course, there is the owner-occupier. With prices so high this is a way of getting a cheap house to live in. Even after you've paid the renovation costs it is still good value."

Figures from the University of Ulster show that parts of the north have outstripped most of the world in terms of capital value increases. In general, house prices in Northern Ireland rose about pounds 600 per week through the past 12 months.

"Most growth was experienced in Lisburn and Newry, fuelled by southern investors."

Prof Adair said: "It is all about supply and demand. Supply in Northern Ireland is limited. We build only about 18,000 houses a year.

"We have done this for years, so prices are high."

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For sale... derelict house in east Belfast' For sale... bricked-up home in north Belfast
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 21, 2007
Words:530
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