Agents' figures glow in light of fire sales
One of the ironies of the commercial property market is that, despite the chaotic fall in values, the main estate agents are likely to see their turnover figures shoot higher and higher as they mount selling campaigns to offload distressed properties for banks, receivers, liquidators and Nama.
Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and Ulster Bank have grabbed the high ground in the first round of sales by facing up to the inevitability of having to take a serious hit in order to offload toxic debts.
Receivers Kieran Wallace of KPMG and Paul McCann and Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton have so far grabbed most of the action and, judging from the high level of overseas interest in the main investment properties, no one doubts that they will be sold within weeks.
The property attracting most interest is the State Street banking headquarters in Dublin’s south docklands which is widely seen as one of the best office blocks in the city. Not surprisingly over a dozen potential buyers are pitching for it, in other words there is well over €1 billion chasing Liam Carroll’s most prestigious development.
Savills has so far managed to grab most of the sales, acting for both Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and Ulster Bank.
This could be due in part to Savills’ successful run in the UK where it has risen to the apex of the Estates Gazette’s top agents’ table after increasing its turnover by 6 per cent. This puts it ahead of Jones Lang LaSalle which saw turnover fall by 5 per cent.
Back in Dublin, most attention is now being focused on Nama which must soon decide whether it is prepared to sell hundreds of distressed properties for less than their discounted loan values. With commercial property prices still tumbling, particularly in the provinces, it seems that the State’s bad bank has no option but to bite the bullet and start selling.