2013 has seen the first signs of recovery emerging in the Northern Ireland property market

Marie Hunt – 00 353 1 6185543 / 00 353 87 2727115 or e-mail:marie.hunt@cbre.com
Brian Lavery – 00 44 (0)28 9043 8555 or e-mail:brian.lavery@cbre.com

Belfast, 1st November 2013 – Commercial property consultants CBRE today released their last bi-monthly report for 2013, focussing on trends in all sectors of the Northern Ireland commercial property market. The property consultants say that 2013 has seen the first signs of recovery emerging in the Northern Ireland commercial property market with transactional activity in all sectors up year-on-year.

According to Brian Lavery, Managing Director at CBRE Northern Ireland, “The Northern Ireland economy has grown at a faster rate than anticipated in 2013, with provisional estimates for this year revised up from 0.2% to 0.5% and growth of 1.8% now projected for 2014. Against this backdrop, the second half of 2013 has certainly been considerably busier than the first half in the Northern Ireland property market, with an increase in the volume of properties being released for sale over recent months”.

A number of significant investment properties have sold recently in Northern Ireland including a Tesco Extra store in Newry, which sold for £30.3 million, reflecting a net initial yield of 4.95%. Most of the demand for institutional grade investment properties of this nature is emanating from UK investors who are increasingly looking for opportunities in regional markets such as Belfast.

According to CBRE, there has been a steady volume of letting activity in the office sector although no large lettings have been signed recently. The news that planning permission has now been granted for a new 7,710m2 (83,000 sq. ft.) Grade A office building at City Quay in Belfast Harbour which is due to go on site shortly has been warmly welcomed as this is the first speculative development in the city in over six years. A planning application has also recently been lodged for a new 17,651m2 (190,000 sq. ft.) office building at Titanic Quarter in Belfast. It has recently been announced that a new children’s hospital is due to be developed at the Royal Victoria Hospital. Meanwhile, the first phase of the new University Campus in Belfast is due to commence shortly with Phase 1 due for completion in 2015.

A large investment conference saw Japanese, Chinese and US investors descend on Belfast in recent weeks and the property consultants say that there is no doubt that this will ultimately lead to further job announcements in Northern Ireland in due course. Recent announcements have included the creation of over 400 additional jobs at the Harbour Estate in East Belfast by Stream Global Services, the creation of 250 new jobs by Bombardier and the creation of 100 new jobs by Caterpillar.

In the retail sector, a number of new retail lettings have been agreed including a letting to Kiehl’s in Victoria Square in Belfast. Clinton Cards will shortly re-open a store on Donegall Place in the former Jane Norman store while HMV have recently re-opened their Newry store which closed earlier this year. Several new restaurants have opened recently with 3 new restaurant openings planned on Belfast’s Howard Street in the run-up to Christmas.

With the annual Christmas market at City Hall and an ice-rink planned for Custom House Square, CBRE hope that political tensions can be kept at bay and that flag protests planned over the coming weeks won’t deter from what promises to be a busy Christmas trading period across the region. As we approach the end of what has been a busy year for this year’s City of Culture, which is hosting the Lumiere Project at the end of November, the property consultants say that considerable momentum has been generated by this year’s Turner Prize exhibition being hosted in Derry – the first time this prestigious event has been hosted outside of the UK mainland.

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 2012 revenue). The Company has approximately 37,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 300 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 110 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