Report underlines Belfast's strength as investment proposition

Launching the report are (from left) Joe O’Neill, Renewed Ambition chair and chief executive of Belfast Harbour; Robert Ditty, executive director at CBRE NI; Cllr Ryan Murphy, chair of Belfast City Council’s city growth and regeneration committee; and Gavin Elliott, senior director (capital markets) at CBRE NI
Gary McDonald Business Editor

AMBITIONS to add 31,600 city centre homes by 2035, a transformational City Deal and a highly-educated young population are among reasons why Belfast offers a unique proposition for real estate occupiers and investors, a new report claims.

The 'Investing in Belfast's Future' study, commissioned by Renewed Ambition and carried out by CBRE NI, took a deep dive analysis into the growth and development of the city region between 2015 and 2020 - and revealed a market experienced stellar growth until the pandemic hit.

It showed there were more than 100 real estate deals over the five years, totalling £717 million and with average yields at nearly 6.3 per cent.

Investment volumes by 35 per cent last year on 2019 levels, though the industrial sector turned over nearly £30 million worth of stock as the growth in online shopping created an insatiable thirst for warehouse space.

Belfast has also witnessed record levels of office, hotel and student accommodation take-up since 2015. Office take-up has averaged 482,322 sq ft a year, with grade A rents growing from £15 per square foot in 2015 to £23 this year.

The report says Belfast possesses a myriad of untapped investment opportunities, pointing to sectors such as the multi-family family residential market, build-to-rent and industrial and logistics.

Another lever which will unleash the city region's investment potential could be the £1 billion Belfast Region City Deal which will create up to 20,000 new skilled jobs alongside a 10-year programme of economic growth.

Joe O'Neill, chair of Renewed Ambition, said: “This detailed report confirms our strong belief that Belfast and the city region offers an investment opportunity unmatched on the global real estate market.”

Robert Ditty, executive director at CBRE NI, added: “There are considerable investment opportunities for city centre living and logistics, for the range of asset classes which will benefit from an increase in city centre living, alongside continued strength in the office sector.

“Coupling this with Northern Ireland's unique position in a post-Brexit world through the ability to access both UK and European Union markets, it further enhances our already strong proposition as a prime location to establish or grow a business.”

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