Belfast Telegraph

Estate agents upbeat about 2013 following merger deal

A major estate agents in Northern Ireland has announced it is merging its commercial and residential businesses.

Residential firm BTWShiells is joining with commercial sister company BTWCairns to form the only estate agents covering the commercial and residential sectors. The combined business employing 100 people will be known as BTWShiells.

The commercial team will remain at Clarence House in May Street, Belfast, while the house sales team will continue to work from its offices at Holywood, Co Down and Lisburn Road, Belfast.

BTWShiells director Simon Brien said the distinction between commercial and residential had become blurred.

"Increasingly, investors and private clients who are 'in property' have interests on both sides of the coin and our new structure reflects our determination to provide a service which is as seamless as it is professional."

He said that the business was in "optimistic" mood about the residential market for this year.

"Whilst we do not anticipate growth in house prices, we are already seeing increased interest and sales activity in the middle and upper sectors of the market, particularly in the greater Belfast and north Down areas."

Fellow director Keith Shiells said 2013 would bring more challenges for the commercial side, especially in the retail sector, but added: "We are still involved in a large number of transactions - for example across our portfolio of managed shopping centres throughout the province with retailers still acquiring shops albeit at lower rents."

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