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Belfast office demand up despite fears after Brexit: report

By John Mulgrew

Published 28/07/2016

David Wright expects strong take-up of office space for rest of the year
David Wright expects strong take-up of office space for rest of the year

Demand for top-end office space in Belfast is continuing to rise despite uncertainty around Brexit, according to a new report.

Around 235,000 sq ft of office space was taken up during the first six months of this year, more than double the same period in 2015, according to CBRE.

It said a busy half in 2016 would continue, thanks to a "large volume of requirements" and added there is still "750,000 sq ft of requirements for the Belfast market" primarily from existing firms looking to relocate for expansion.

The latest report highlighted that some of the biggest lettings in Belfast include Citi, Liberty IT and BRS Golf, which moved into the City Quays 1 development at Belfast Harbour earlier this year.

David Wright, director of office agency at CBRE, said that it "must be stressed the fundamentals of the local office market remain strong at this point with demand continuing to out-strip supply", despite uncertainty around Brexit.

"We expect to see strong take-up in the remainder of 2016, given the number of deals currently going through the legal process in addition to the large volume of requirements," he added.

"Around 90,000 sq ft of refurbishment projects are to be completed in the second half of the year, including the Linen Lofts in Adelaide Street and the Lincoln Building on Great Victoria Street.

"In addition, the Belfast Harbour Commissioners project, City Quays 2, will complete in quarter one 2017, providing 96,000 sq ft."

Mr Wright said "Belfast still remains one of the most competitive locations in the British Isles" and that "rental increases to £17.50 per sq ft are making development projects more attractive".

Earlier this month, a number of UK property firms were suspended following EU the vote. It was reported that seven funds pulled down the shutters after investors asked for their cash back amid uncertainty.

Following the Brexit vote, it was reported one developer had shelved plans to build an office building in Belfast city centre.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed that the sale of the Sirocco site in east Belfast, which was due for development in a £300m project, was under threat due to Brexit.

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