Most NI firms optimistic about 2014, research finds
More than half of businesses contacted had recruited extra staff this year
Lisney’s 2013 Northern Ireland commercial property report shows transaction volumes “have seen a sixfold increase since 2011”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Seven out of 10 firms in the North say they are optimistic about prospects for 2014, according to the latest economic research, suggesting a more positive business environment is emerging.
The research, conducted on behalf of Bank of Ireland, shows that more than half of the businesses contacted had recruited additional staff this year and 58 per cent were planning to hire next year.
Almost 60 per cent of local companies said their businesses were stable, although 17 per cent described their operations as simply “surviving”.
The findings reinforce separate research from Ulster Bank earlier this week, which highlighted that improving business conditions had contributed to an increase in the number of people in work in the North.
The Ulster Bank PMI report suggested that employment was growing at a pace not seen since August 2007 as the local private sector enjoyed “solid rises” in output and new orders.
The upbeat business outlook is reflected in the latest house- price survey, also published this week, which suggests prices are stabilising.
The RICS and Ulster Bank housing market survey for Northern Ireland claims October was the fifth successive month that prices improved.
Commercial property agents claim there are signs of recovery in the investment, office and industrial sectors.
Lisney’s 2013 Northern Ireland commercial property report shows transaction volumes “have seen a sixfold increase since 2011”. Its latest report says that the total value of assets sold, under offer or brought to market in 2013 is more than £150 million (€178 million), almost double the value achieved just 12 months ago.