Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Still plenty to celebrate, insists Jeremy

Challenging is just one way to describe the current property market, according to Jeremy Hill, head of commercial property at Carson McDowell.

But Mr Hill insisted that despite all the “gloom and doom” there was still plenty to celebrate as regards the property sector’s performance over the past year.

He said: “There have been some significant achievements in the market such as the opening of Victoria Square and the ongoing development at Titanic Quarter.

“What we are facing is a crisis of confidence in the financial and consumer markets, and this is having a knock-on effect, but this is not yet an economic crisis.”

Mr Hill said that Carson McDowell, which is sponsoring the commercial property developer of the year award at the Belfast Telegraph Property Awards, was still enjoying “a great year”.

He acknowledged that there had been a reduction in terms of volume, but said his practice’s property team was still involved in some exciting transactions .

He said: “We are seeing less deals in terms of volume, but on the other hand those we have been involved in have been of significant value.

“At the start of the year we acted in the purchase of some key properties throughout Belfast such as Calvert House, which has been transformed into the new flagship store for one of our retail clients DV8 and the acquisition of Scottish Provident Building and Commercial Union HQ at Donegall Square South for private investors.

“The firm has also been busy working on the recent acquisition of George Best Belfast City Airport.”

Mr Hill said it was difficult to predict where the market would be going over the next 12 months.

He said: “It’s difficult for anyone to guess where the market is going.

“What I do believe is that we need strong action from the Government locally to stimulate the economy.

“The planned spending on infrastructure needs to be accelerated as this would help safeguard the construction industry here and stimulate wealth which, in turn, will help the housing market.

“Currently we are seeing some innovative funding structures being put in place by developers and banks, but once again we need the Government to do its bit. We need the ministers to demonstrate that they are capable of showing leadership and taking tough decisions.”

l This year’s Belfast Telegraph Northern Ireland Property Awards, which take place in association with Ulster Bank, will be held on November 13 at the Ramada Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast.

There are 10 categories in total for both the commercial and residential property sectors. Closing date for entries is October 17.

For further information see www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/propertyawards or contact event organisers JPR on (028) 9076 0066 or mail@jprni.com.

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