Belfast Telegraph

Property agents say busy selling season lies ahead following uncertainty

By John Mulgrew

More than £100m of major investment properties are due to come on the market in the coming months, a report has said.

And CBRE boss Brian Lavery added that "despite uncertainty" since the vote to leave the European Union, the commercial property market can expect a "busy selling season".

"Despite the uncertainty that has prevailed since the Brexit referendum, the market looks set for a busy selling season between now and year end," he added.

There was more than 230,000 sq ft of office lettings during 2016, according to the bi-monthly report from CBRE.

Major lettings included Tourism NI at Linum Chambers on Bedford Street, and 6,000 sq ft to Regus at Arnott House.

And earlier this summer, London company Tullett Prebon announced that it was developing a new technology centre here, creating 300 jobs.

"The latest results from our research are encouraging," Brian Lavery, managing director of CBRE said.

"Buying activity for the foreseeable future will predominantly emanate from private equity and debt buyers as opposed to institutions who are still considering their appetite for property after Brexit.

"There has also been an increase in the appetite of local financial institutions to lend towards real estate which will support increased private debt purchasing in the short to medium-term."

There have also been several major high street retailers opening additional shops, along with new additions to the retail landscape in Belfast.

The sector has also been boosted by several new store openings, including Stradivarius on Donegall Place, toy shop The Entertainer in CastleCourt and Pandora at Cornmarket.

"There is plenty of activity across all sectors - retail is seeing development across Belfast, with Westwood Shopping Centre being redeveloped and Primark's 40,000 sq ft extension at Castle Junction under way," Mr Lavery explained.

"In terms of hotels, Belfast currently has five projects on site with City Quays to be operated by Mariott International, and the Beannchor-led Bullitt Hotel on Victoria St notable inclusions."

The Belfast Telegraph also recently revealed that financial services firm FinTru is taking offices at Carleton House in the city.

There are additionally a number of major office and retail developments under way for Belfast. That includes the £360m Royal Exchange project, with updated plans being submitted this month.

Developer Paddy Kearney is also planning a series of huge buildings across the city over the next few years - including the £55m Lanyon Central. The green light has also been given for the renovation of Ewarts Warehouse, which will be turned into offices.

Belfast Telegraph