Ballyclare-based Hagan Homes, one of Northern Ireland’s largest homebuilders, has announced that it will accept a Bitcoin transaction as a form of payment for its new homes.

The company is believed to be the first homebuilder in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland to accept Bitcoin, which is a decentralized digital currency. The worldwide payment system, otherwise known as a cryptocurrency, allows peer-to-peer transactions to take place directly between users without an intermediary.

Jamesy Hagan, Managing Director of Hagan Homes, discusses:

"Bitcoin is an innovative new payment method and essentially a new kind of money. It is very similar to a cash transaction. There has been a significant growth in the use of Bitcoin worldwide and our acceptance of this new channel reflects our willingness to respond to the market.

"The international appeal of Northern Ireland is continuing to grow. There are an increasing number of international investors establishing businesses in Northern Ireland and subsequently this means that the number of people wanting to live, work or invest in Northern Ireland is increasing.”

Mr Hagan continues: "Bitcoin is becoming increasingly accepted in the real estate market in USA, with hundreds of listings accepting the cryptocurrency over the last six months. Of course, there are some risks to using Bitcoin for payment due to the cryptocurrency's volatility, but buyers and sellers are finding creative ways to deal with these challenges. By incorporating the learning from our peers into our approach we can embrace this innovation."

Discussing the local housing market Mr Hagan adds: "We are seeing a gradual improvement in the local housing market. Quality, location and affordability remain the key selling points.

"Our most recent annual results indicate that what we are offering, in terms of specification of build, is exactly what our customers want. Hagan Homes aim to build affordable, quality, stylish homes and achieve this by appointing award-winning architects, interior designers and craftspeople."

Hagan Homes recorded a turnover of over £18million in 2016/17 and celebrated its second biggest year of home completions since it was established almost 30 years ago. A total of 207 homes across 15 sites in Northern Ireland were completed, marking an increase of 8.4% on the previous year. This figure exceeded all expectations, as the company’s initial target for 2016/17 was 180 homes.

Hagan Homes has recently started work on five new sites in Dunmurry (Willow Park), Carrickfergus (Darby Road), Coleraine (The Salmon Leap), Ballyclare (Fairview Farm Road), Ballymena (Fry’s Meadow), Dundonald (Comber Road) and Comber (Little Enler).

Development activity at further sites in Dromore (Pound Street) and Belfast (Frenchpark Street) is scheduled to begin in the coming months.