Investors rush back into NI’s commercial real estate as economy picks up

Northern Ireland’s commercial real estate investment has bounced back and will record £300 million in transactions this year.

That is the message from agents CBRE NI which said the sector has been rejuvenated in 2021 after a quiet 2020 when volume was pared back by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Around £234 million of investment activity has been recorded so far this year, while another £66 million is either under offer or currently on the market.

Already that figure has far surpassed the £136 million of transactions noted last year, offering a sure sign the market is in good health.

Gavin Elliott, Senior Director, Capital Markets at CBRE NI, said the pick up in the economy has brough investors back.

“Over the year we have seen a dramatic increase in investor appetite for properties across all sectors, which has been primarily driven by the low interest rate environment and the continuing improvement in the occupier markets and the wider economy,” he said. “Furthermore, with inflationary pressure being felt throughout the UK economy, investor sentiment for real estate will continue to strengthen.”

Indications of activity so far this year also show that the office sector accounted for the bulk (55%) of the recorded deals, a figure which chimes with indications from a number of large corporates which have reiterated the importance of the office in recent months.

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The retail sector was the second largest sector by investment volume so far this year, but CBRE NI expect it to come close to being the largest investment sector by the end of the year with interest in retail parks particularly strong.

“It’s particularly interesting that activity in the office market has been busy, with companies realising the importance of a base for co-operation, collaboration and team building. Similarly, retail has posted a strong quarter and we expect that to continue as interest in retail parks grow.”

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