Belfast Telegraph

Belfast office market streets ahead of other cities: report

From left, Professor Alastair Adair, deputy vice chancellor at Ulster University, Suzanne Wylie, chief executive of Belfast City Council, and Susan Mason, RICS Northern Ireland regional manager, launch the Northern Ireland Commercial Property Investment Review 2018
From left, Professor Alastair Adair, deputy vice chancellor at Ulster University, Suzanne Wylie, chief executive of Belfast City Council, and Susan Mason, RICS Northern Ireland regional manager, launch the Northern Ireland Commercial Property Investment Review 2018
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Belfast's office market has become one of the strongest performers across the UK, with a heftier return for investors than other UK cities, according to a report today.

The Commercial Property Investment Review 2018 compares the Northern Ireland and Belfast market with other locations in the UK and Europe.

It found that, overall, there was a marked slowdown in the sector across 2018 due to Brexit uncertainty and the structural changes in the retail sector, as shoppers turn away from bricks and mortar stores and shop online instead. Today's report is produced by Ulster University and global financial company MSCI in partnership with members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Across the board, commercial property in Northern Ireland produced a total return for investors of 1.7% - compared to 0.2% in Wales, 3.6% in Scotland and 4% in England, excluding London.

But the office sector in the province outperformed other types of property, providing double-digit returns for investors.

In Belfast, the return for investors was around 12.4% - double the UK's average of 6% and well above the European average of 8%. The findings come as trading companies - such as ship outfitter MJM Marine and jewellery chain Argento parent company Denvir Holdings - increasingly diversify into office space in Belfast.

Professor Alastair Adair, deputy vice chancellor at Ulster University, said: "The welcomed growth in the office market reflects the new investment dynamic in the city region.

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"The modern breed of IT and professional services occupiers are highlighting Belfast as a progressive, go-to and contemporary location offering investment opportunities comparable with and exceeding other European locations," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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