Resurgent Northern Ireland Commercial Property Set For Active Year-End

Belfast, 1st November 2014 – Commercial property consultants CBRE Ireland today released their final bi-monthly analysis for 2014 focussing on trends in each sector of the Northern Irish commercial property market. According to their November bi-monthly report, 2014 has been a record year for the commercial property market in Northern Ireland with a notable increase in transaction volumes in the investment sector of the market. Investment spend is expected to be boosted even further if a number of assets currently being marketed get signed by year-end.

According to Brian Lavery, Managing Director, CBRE Belfast, “2014 has been a record year for the Northern Irish commercial property market with a resurgence of activity across almost every sector of the market. Evidence of the recovery of the commercial property sector is most visible in the investment sector, with £411 million invested directly in the commercial market in Northern Ireland n the year to the end of September of which 90% has comprised retail investment.

“The sale of NAMA’s entire holding in Northern Ireland, by way of a loan sale earlier this year, helped stimulate the increase in the volume of asset sales throughout 2014, but we’ve also benefited from an escalation in job announcements which has boosted office leasing activity as well as rental growth. We anticipate continued activity in all sectors of the commercial property market during the last two months of what has been a remarkable year.”



  • The most visible evidence of the recovery in the commercial property sector in Northern Ireland continues to emanate from the investment sector with 2014 seeing record volumes of transactional activity occurring. Over £411 million was invested directly in the commercial market in Northern Ireland during the first nine months with over 90% comprising retail investments
  • Transactions that have been completed recently include the sale of Orritor Road Retail Park in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone for a reported £3.025 million; the sale of a Tesco Superstore in East Belfast for £24.74 million; the sale of the Cylinder Building in the Gasworks for £3.3 million and the sale of the Batik Building in the Gasworks for £1 million
  • There has been particularly strong demand for the Connswater Shopping Centre and retail park in Belfast, which was recently launched for sale guiding £26 million
  • A number of other retail investments are currently being marketed including The Richmond Centre in Derry, which is guiding £21 million; The Mall in Portadown, which is guiding £2.8 million and the Diamond Centre in Coleraine, which is guiding £2.25 million


  • There has been a resurgence of activity in the office leasing market in Belfast over recent months following an escalation in job announcements in the region
  • More than 18,580m2 (200,000 sq. ft.) of office leasing activity occurred in the Belfast market in the first nine months of 2014, with more than half of this activity occurring in the third quarter of the year alone
  • Office rents in the city have now increased to approximately £156 per square metre (£14.50 per sq. ft.), which is improving the feasibility of new development with several new schemes now in the pipeline. This is welcome considering there is very little choice of Grade A stock available to satisfy current requirements
  • Much of the demand is emanating from the technology sector with active requirements from companies including Puppetlabs, Chelsea Apps and Rapid7. Another IT company Version1 have recently leased accommodation at 12 Cromac Place within the Gasworks scheme in Belfast



  • There has been a marked improvement in consumer sentiment over recent months and retailers are focussed on what is expected to be a busy Christmas selling season helped in no small part by the return of the very successful Christmas markets in Belfast
  • Jaeger, Swarovski and YoSushi are busy fitting out new stores to ensure they are open in time for Christmas and a number of transactions are underway at present which will see some new retailers opening stores in the region in early 2015


  • 45 hotel properties were sold in Ireland in the first nine months of 2014, totalling almost €280 million between them. This is remarkable considering that 33 hotels totalling €160 million transacted in the entire year in 2013. In addition to many individual hotel sales that have occurred over the last number of months, a number of hotel portfolios have recently been offered for sale including Project Nadal, which between them will boost hotel transaction volumes considerably
  • Other hotels that have sold recently include the Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland for a reported €10.5 million and the Tower Hotel in Derry for €5.5 million
  • New entrant Goldman Sachs has reportedly emerged as the preferred bidder for the loan on Belfast’s Merchant Hotel


CBRE NI | Bi-monthly Research Report November 2014


About CBRE Group, Inc. 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

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 or