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Northern Ireland commercial property market finishes the year strongly

The Northern Ireland commercial property market has finished the year in a much stronger position than anticipated and has once again proven its resilience, according to commercial property agency CBRE. 

The Northern Ireland investment market throughout 2019 saw an increase in transaction volumes year-on-year, with almost £212m being invested across 32 separate transactions. 

Notable investments in 2019 include Sprucefield Retail Park in Belfast and Crescent Link Retail Park in Derry, which were sold for £40m and £30m respectively, as well as the Gateway Building at Titanic Quarter, which was purchased for over £34m by Citigroup in April. 

Northern Ireland commercial propertyGavin Elliott, Capital Markets Director at CBRE, commented: “It is encouraging to see higher investment volumes being recorded than first anticipated at the beginning of 2019. 

“With the UK likely to leave the EU on the 31st January 2020, we believe that the unique position of Belfast as a pivot city between Dublin, London and Europe should begin to realise greater interest from real estate investors throughout 2020.” 

Whilst the office market take-up in Belfast was unable to match 2018, it also performed much better than expected in 2019, with take-up of 517,380 sq ft being secured over 64 transactions. 

Key deals in the office market include Deloitte taking 80,000 sq ft at The Ewart; Rapid7 taking close to 48,000 sq ft at Chichester House; and PwC committing to an additional 46,000 sq ft of accommodation at Merchant Square, on top of the 155,000 sq ft they agreed last year. 

CBRE’s Office Agency Director, David Wright, added: “Over the past number of years, strong occupier activity, particularly from the technology/FDI and creative industries sectors, has helped reinforce the resilience of our office market amidst the wider economic and political challenges that Northern Ireland has faced. 

“We are pleased that figures recorded in 2019 were up on the rolling five-year average, and with a number of large office requirements set to be announced in the local market in early 2020, we expect to hit the ground running in the new year.”