North’s geographical position ‘key to investment’ after Brexit

Northern Irish commercial property market ‘resilient’ despite uncertainty, says CBRE

Lisa Steele, general manager of the Marriott’s new £25 million AC Hotel in Belfast

Lisa Steele, general manager of the Marriott’s new £25 million AC Hotel in Belfast


Northern Ireland needs to take “full advantage” of its position between Dublin, London and Europe to attract new real estate investment funds as the Brexit process plays out, property experts have warned.

Latest research from commercial real estate agency CBRE suggests British and international investors accounted for 87 per cent of the £1.64 billion invested in the North’s property market in the five years up to and including 2017.

According to CBRE director Gavin Elliott, local investors dominated the commercial property scene throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but investors from outside the North took the lead after 2008.

Mr Elliott believes that in light of Brexit the North now needs to play its geographical card to its advantage to attract further investment.

“The local market should be well-placed for further future [British] and international investment following the deal agreed between the Conservative Party and the DUP, which secured an additional £1 billion funding for Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Furthermore, the Belfast City Region Deal and the £100 million Northern Ireland Investment Fund both offer new possibilities to refuel demand for real estate.”

Resilient market

According to CBRE’s property investment review of 2017, Northern Ireland’s commercial property market remained “resilient” despite the backdrop of political uncertainty, with the number of transactions up on the previous year.

In total, £316 million was invested across 43 separate transactions compared with £248 million across 36 transactions in 2016.

CBRE’s latest research also shows it was a particularly busy year for the North’s hospitality scene with six hotel deals worth an estimated £42 million struck in 2017.

Several new hotels are scheduled to open next year, including Marriott’s new 188-bedroom, four-star, AC Hotel in Belfast, which will be its first on the island and will open for business in April.