Stormont impasse 'stopping external property investors'
The political uncertainty in Northern Ireland is deterring outside investors from committing to commercial property deals, a new report has claimed.
Lisney's commercial property report for the first three months of 2019 found that while £41m of deals were carried out in the first quarter, the vast majority involved local investors. The commercial property consultancy analysed the 106,779 sq ft that changed hands in the first quarter.
Lisney said the retail sector across the UK has seen the lowest quarterly investment volumes traded in a decade.
While the £41m worth of deals was well up on the £10m reported in the same quarter in 2018, Lisney NI's managing director Declan Flynn said: "In light of local political stalemate and the uncertainty as a result of the missed Brexit deadline, it is unsurprising that the majority of these transactions have been completed by local investors.
"While this creates a barrier for inward investment, it is important to note that the tentative nature of the market is mirrored right across the UK, and given the assets either on the market, agreed or quietly available, we do see potential for increased transaction levels throughout 2019."
Notable investment transactions in included James House in The Gasworks and Donegall House, both in Belfast city centre, and which sold for £14m and £9.6m respectively.
Also, £52m of investments marketed for sale during the first quarter of the year, including Gateway Offices in the Titanic Quarter, Timber Quay in Londonderry and Antrim Business Park, are now noted as "sale agreed".
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It also highlighted the fact that prime retail locations in Belfast city centre are achieving rents of up to £150 per sq ft and that discount retailers continue to be among the most active within the sector.