Property boom on the Shankill…

London has long been a venue for housing market regeneration of old run down working class areas. The development of the Thames Gateway is set to transform the like of Dartford, where by SE standards, house prices remain in the bargain basement category. It seems the Shankill area of Belfast is seeing a massive hike in prices, which could indicate some form of regeneration is already in train on the back of a bouyant local market rather than any outside investment.

Yesterday, Jayne Farrell did not have any time to think about the past. She was too busy dealing with a new sort of interest in the Shankill Road’s housing – the sort that has turned this one-time icon of strife and staunch loyalism into an unlikely property hotspot. Ms Farrell, an estate agent whose company opened its office on the flag-lined street just three months ago, is at the centre of a housing goldrush.

Terraced houses on the road and its adjoining streets have more than doubled in value from £70,000 (€105,000) last year to £150,000 (€225,000), while developers are rushing to finish a series of new buildings to meet burgeoning demand. Such is the frenzy of bidding that offers of £20,000 (€30,000) to £30,000 (€45,000) over the asking price are commonplace for red brick back-to-backs that a decade ago were among the most blighted homes in the UK.

Instead of murals commemorating ‘heroes’ of banned paramilitary groups and highlighting atrocities, houses in the area are now adorned with ‘For Sale’ signs.