||Policymakers and practitioners have specific research needs that can be at odds with the academic model. Housing market analysis is readily caught up in theoretical, econometric and other minutiae when what is often required is a clear explanation of market drivers, or the influence of new policies on markets, or the spatial and vertical distributional impacts of market processes and policies. Critically, housing policy, especially concerning resource-critical decisions, needs relevant and credible evidence positioned within a coherent but intuitive framework. In this paper, we explore the application of one such framework to the distinctive Northern Ireland housing market. The paper begins with a profile of the Northern Ireland housing market, drawing on existing evidence and received stylised facts about the market and its institutional setting. The second section introduces Local Housing Systems Analysis – a technique developed in Scotland to provide a consistent framework for organising data to inform housing investment decisions across local authorities. A key requirement to conduct meaningful research is data and the paper reports a housing data audit for Northern Ireland and reflects on its findings. The third section of the paper draws on relevant housing economics literature and secondary data from Northern Ireland to link together the LHSA framework with direct questions of practical relevance concerning affordability, housing supply and forms of market intervention. The final section concludes first by examining what we know and what we do not or cannot know about the Northern Ireland housing market at this point, raising an agenda for further research to strengthen the evidence base. Second, the conclusion reflects on different ways in which housing research can provide policy-relevant tools and mechanisms with which to analyse local and regional markets.