Active Autumn Anticipated for Commercial Property In NI
Northern Ireland is on track for significantly increased commercial property activity in the latter half of 2015, according to the latest bi-monthly report by CBRE.
Whilst there was only 90,000 sq ft of office lettings signed in Belfast in the first half of the year, it is expected that this will be significantly surpassed in H2 2015.
Prime office rents have been gradually increasing and now stand at around £16 per sq ft. The City Quays 2 office development is due to start immediately and will improve the availability of much-needed Grade A office space in Belfast. This is expected to see an increase in investor interest both locally and from foreign investors.
It has been a positive summer for the retail sector, which has been relatively busy, with a number of new entrants looking at opportunities and new store openings taking place. The vacancy rate on Belfast’s prime pitch is now 8.8%.
GAP has recently launched its new flagship outlet on Donegall Place and there is due to be a raft of new openings at CastleCourt including new entrants to NI, Schuh Kids and Yours Clothing. Other significant transactions include Sketchers opening two new stores in Belfast and Craigavon with further opening planned for 2016, and DW Sports opening their new Belfast flagship and actively seeking further stores in key locations.
Notable investment transactions that have happened in 2015 include the sale of 35-47 Donegall Place, the sale of Valley Retail Park, Tesco Express and Urban Pharmacy on the Dublin Road and Lisburn Square. There are also a number of opportunities such as Junction One, Antrim The Outlet, Banbridge and Bloomfield Shopping Centre, Bangor.
Brian Lavery, Managing Director Belfast, CBRE said:
“The months of July and August were relatively quiet as expected, however we still saw negotiations continue on a number of transaction which will boost activity over the coming months. We expect a repeat of the pattern for 2014 that saw a quiet H1 followed by an explosive H2.
“In addition to strengthening office and retail sectors, the investment opportunities currently on the market are very attractive, with several others due to be formally launched for sale over the coming months. Prime yields are relatively stable, allowing for a positive outlook in the latter half of the year.
“There is disappointment that the plan to allow NI autonomy over corporation tax that we had hoped to see come into effect in early 2017 is looking less likely to materialise. This is highly unfortunate given the extent to which this could have generated jobs and improved appetite for office accommodation across the region.
“However, the commercial property market is stood in good stead for the coming months. A busy Autumn season is in prospect with strong volumes of activity anticipated in all sectors across Northern Ireland.”
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2014 revenue). The Company has more than 52,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 370 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.
In Ireland, with offices in Dublin and Belfast, CBRE is the country’s largest commercial real estate services company, now employing over 140 employees and offering a full range of property services including property sales and acquisitions, leasing and management, investment, corporate services, debt advisory, project management, consultancy, valuations and research. Please visit our website at www.cbre.ie or www.cbre.ie/ni.