Business

North's commercial property market to end 2018 in strong position

The investment sector has been boosted by the completion of a number of high-profile office buildings, including River House on High Street
Gareth McKeown

THE north's commercial property market is set to finish the year in a strong position, according to a new report.

The latest CBRE Marketview, covering the three months to the end of September, shows solid progress, building upon record levels of take-up in the first half of 2018.

The office market added a further 105,337 sq ft across 17 transactions in the third quarter of the year, bringing the yearly total to date to 643,983 sq ft.

The investment sector has also been busy, with total spend to date this year £122.2m, boosted by the completion of a number of high-profile office buildings, including the likes of Artola House, Moneda House and River House.

CBRE office agency director, David Wright believes refurbished office properties have given a "much-needed lifeline" to the market over the last three years, given the lack of new build activity.

"There are a large number of office deals agreed and currently in ‘legals', and providing they complete in Q4, Belfast is set to experience one of the most active years ever recorded in this sector," he said.

Despite the positives, political uncertainties remain a concern, according to CBRE managing director, Brian Lavery.

“Lack of local government and Brexit are impacting upon pricing, but it is clear that investor appetite in Northern Ireland remains encouraging from both locals and new institutional entrants."

“We expect the final quarter of 2018 to be a particularly busy period, which should lead to investment volumes for the full year mirroring last year's figures," he added

The report acknowledges the impact of the August 28 Primark fire on the Belfast retail sector, but state that the market has held up reasonably well, with activity now increasing ahead of the key Christmas trading period.

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