31 October 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Despite the third quarter being quieter during the summer months, the commercial property market in Northern Ireland is set to finish the year in a strong position, according to research by CBRE.
The CBRE NI Marketview for Q3 2018 shows solid progress in the three months to the end of September, although political uncertainties in the background remain a concern.
Following record levels of take-up in the first half of the year, the office market added a further 105,337 square feet across 17 transactions in Q3, bringing the yearly total to date to 643,983 square feet.
David Wright, CBRE office agency director, said: "Refurbished office properties have given a much-needed lifeline to the market over the last three years, given the lack of new build activity.
"The likes of Artola House, Moneda House and River House have now completed, with Chichester House and Merchant Square on site and well underway. 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."
Due to high-profile office buildings completing in Q3 2018, the investment sector has also been busy, with total spend to date now at £122.2 million.
Brian Lavery, managing director, CBRE Northern Ireland, added: "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."
Uncertainties continue in the retail sector and the recent fire at Primark's Belfast store has impacted trading within the city centre's prime retail core.
However, despite all of this, the market has held up reasonably well, with activity increasing ahead of the Christmas trading period.
The hotel sector throughout Northern Ireland has benefitted from strong trading during the summer as a result of increasing 'staycations' and the sterling exchange rate remaining favourably stable.