Demand for quality offices in Belfast robust amid big lettings
Demand for offices in Belfast remains strong with several major lettings during the first half of the year, according to a new report.
The figures from Lambert Smith Hampton show there was a total take-up of 235,000sq ft for the first six months of the year.
Some of the biggest lettings include Liberty IT, EY, Citi and BRS Golf.
The brainchild of Belfast brothers Brian and Rory Smith, BRS Golf is taking the ground floor space at City Quays. The firm is looking to grow its workforce to almost 100 employees.
Top-end office rents have risen to £17.50 per sq ft, but Belfast still ranks among the cheapest places in the UK to set up shop.
Elsewhere, in Edinburgh, rates were £32.50 per sq ft, £34 in Manchester city centre, and £32.50 in Birmingham.
Lambert Smith Hampton says that with demand continuing to outstrip supply, rents are expected to rise further in 2016 and 2017.
Greg Henry, associate director of agency at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: "We are expecting this activity to continue for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017, with new stock and refurbishment projects coming to completion.
"There is still in excess of 700,000sq ft of requirements for the Belfast market.
"It is still unclear what effect the Brexit decision will have going forward, however the early signs are that long-term requirements are still moving ahead and, with recent announcements of companies entering the Northern Ireland market, are encouraging.
"Tullett Prebon and Pearson Management Services are bringing a combined 450 jobs to the local area so there is still a high demand for grade A office space.
"This shows FDIs still have confidence in the market and both parties confirmed their expansion into Belfast was due to a highly educated workforce, an attractive business environment and great infrastructure."
Following the Brexit vote in June, it was reported that one developer from outside Northern Ireland shelved plans to build an office building in Belfast city centre.