Belfast office market finishes H1 in strong position, says CBRE

| August 7, 2017

CBRE logoInterest in Belfast’s office market has remained strong throughout the first half of 2017 despite take-up being down from the previous six-month period, says CBRE.

According to CBRE’s Belfast Office Marketview report for H1 2017, the total number of transactions is not a fair reflection of the current pace of activity taking place within the city.

Whilst there were only 14 transactions completed in H1 2017, there is in excess of 100,000 sq ft of deals currently going through the legal process.

David Wright, director, CBRE said: “Whilst appearing relatively quiet on the face of it, the Belfast office market has remained robust during the first six months of the year with a large number of deals in legals.

“There has also been a number of major announcements from a range of FDI companies via Invest NI, which will translate into future office transactions in the coming months.”

Invest NI have made significant job announcements on behalf of a range of companies arriving and expanding into Northern Ireland, including Bazaarvoice, Redline Trading Solutions, Anomali and Unosquare.

In addition, the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen’s University Belfast has also been announced, which will further enhance Belfast’s international expertise in cyber security.

Highlights in the first half of 2017 include deals to Grant Thornton on Donegall Square West, the refurbished Linen Loft on Adelaide Street welcoming Spence & Partners as its first tenant, and the announcement that HMRC will lease Erskine House for 25 years, where it will accommodate 1,600 employees.

Quality office supply remains low and the speculative construction of new office buildings have yet to materialise, with the exception of City Quays 2 by Belfast Harbour.

With limited speculative construction in the short term, refurbishment projects are critical in delivering supply into the market quickly and meeting the demand for office space in Belfast.

Prime headline rents at the end of the H1 2017 stood at £20 per sq ft. Whilst rental growth was rapid in 2016, CBRE predicts a more marginal increase from now until year end, as quality supply tightens further.

Following uncertainty resulting from local and national politics, the speed of transactions slowed in the run up to the UK General Election.

Mr. Wright added: “We expect take-up in the remainder of 2017 to be very active as a surge of transactions are set to complete.

“The market should also be well placed for future investment as a result of the recent deal agreed between the Conservative Party and the DUP, with a significant portion of the additional funding due to be spent on infrastructure projects.”

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