Belfast Telegraph

£45m worth of commercial property deals completed across Northern Ireland since Brexit decision

By John Mulgrew

Around £45m of commercial property sales have taken place across Northern Ireland in the months following the EU vote, according to new figures.

Research by Lisney shows a series of big deals pushed up the figures in the weeks and months following the June 23 vote.

Some of the largest transactions include MJM Group's £31.1m purchase of Damolly Retail Park in Newry.

And there is a further £36m worth of deals currently on the market that include the Mansford-owned Strabane Shopping Park and the Laharna Retail Park in Larne.

The report also found that office take-up from July to September increased slightly to 78,000 sq ft from 75,000 in the previous quarter.

And the report said the retail sector is improving, with falling vacancy rates and rents now increasing to £125 per sq ft in Belfast city centre.

Declan Flynn, managing director of Lisney in Northern Ireland, said that "following on from the pre and post-Brexit lull in investment activity, the wheels of the Northern Ireland market have slowly begun to turn and the appetite for higher quality assets, priced to reflect ongoing risks, remains strong despite continued uncertainty".

"Investment transaction volumes for the third quarter of 2016 were considerably lower than our original estimates, with only £45m transacted compared to £133.5m during the first six months of the year.

"That said, the Brexit vote has created some buying opportunities, particularly from international purchasers given the current weakness of the pound.

"As we move towards the year end we expect investors to continue to proceed with caution. Our outlook for the final few months of the year is that transactions will be limited, with few investors prepared to complete deals, though we would expect to see these investors taking a fresh look at our market should we, as expected, see a number of good quality assets coming to the market in Q1 2017."

Mr Flynn said while take-up has increased since the previous quarter, demand for grade A office space continues to "outstrip supply".

"On the supply side there are various speculative developments making their way through the planning system which may alleviate the supply gap in the medium term but it is difficult to see how demand will be met in the short term - this will place even more importance on refurbishment projects."

Belfast Telegraph