Demand for Belfast office space out-stripping supply says CBRE Office Marketview report
BELFAST remains one of the most attractive office locations in the British Isles, with a whopping 235,000 square foot of space having been taken up during the first six months of this year.
And the busy first half will be complemented by "plenty of activity" in the second half according to the Belfast Office Marketview report from commercial property adviser CBRE.
It highlighted the fact that 235,000 sq ft of take-up between January and June had "far surpassed" that of the first half 2015, with an increase of 165 per cent for the same period.
There are still in excess of 750,000 sq ft of requirements for the Belfast market, primarily from existing occupiers seeking to relocate for expansion purposes.
Recent high profile lettings have included signings with Navinet, Liberty IT, PuppetLabs, BRS Golf, Genpact, Citi, Arup, EY and Shopkeep.com.
David Wright, director of office agency at CBRE said: "We expect to see strong take-up in the remainder of 2016, given the number of deals currently going through the legal process, in addition to the large volume of requirements.
"A total of 90,000 sq ft of refurbishment projects are to be completed in H2 2016, including the Linen Lofts in Adelaide Street and Lincoln Building on Great Victoria Street.
"In addition, the Belfast Harbour Commissioners project, City Quays 2, will complete in Q1, 2017, providing 96,000 sq ft."
Mr Wright said the market had been further boosted by the granting of planning permission for further development, amounting to 215,000 sq ft of Grade A offices at Bedford Square to be developed by McAleer & Rushe.
"Belfast still remains one of the most competitive locations in the British Isles," he added. "Rental increases to £17.50 per sq ft are making development projects more attractive and we are anticipating further rental growth over the remainder of the year.
"Northern Ireland had been enjoying a period of economic and political stability and the business community was anticipating the benefits of a reduced corporation tax to 12.5 per cent in 2018.
"The unexpected Brexit result and subsequent decision that the UK corporation tax may be reduced to 15 per cent may influence some occupier decisions, but it is too early to quantify this impact.
"It must be stressed the fundamentals of the local office market remain strong at this point, with demand continuing to out-strip supply."
Other notable transactions over the period have included River House, sold to a London-based investor planning to refurbish the property; Oxford & Gloucester House, purchased by Wirefox for £5.75m; Carleton House, sold for £1.975m; Avenue House, bought by Cordatus for £6.55m; and 8-10 Donegall Sq North which was snapped up for £5.95m.