Funding still a challenge but things have improved
The commercial landscape remains challenging as funding is not readily available, but the Best commercial team has felt a positive improvement in the market, evidenced by the rise in transactions during 2017, which have more than doubled.
Notable sales include a large office building on Downshire Road to the very successful Mac Interiors Group based in Newry, a letting of a high-spec gym in Greenbank Industrial Estate and the recent sales of self-contained industrial premises in Lurgan and Carnbane - where competitive bidding saw the guide prices exceeded in both cases.
Latterly, the sale of an investment property in Newry city centre attracted unrivalled interest and the final sales price achieved was 45% over the guide price.
The positive confidence can be seen in the fact that vacancy rates in the city centre have reduced substantially in the last 12 months and a new, privately owned retail/office scheme has been developed at Custom House on Merchants Quay - the first privately-owned scheme of this type to be developed in the city since 2009.
The commercial team report that Brexit has not yet made any tangible impact on market activity although they have noted a slight rise in enquiry levels from across the border.
It may well be the case that in the short term the Brexit process will throw up as many opportunities as disadvantages.
Longer term, the impact on the property market is difficult to predict at this stage.