In­vest­ments stay re­silient in qui­eter mar­ket

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY MAR­GARET CAN­NING

COM­MER­CIAL prop­erty in­vest­ment in North­ern Ire­land has been sub­dued so far this year, with £121m in in­vest­ment deals around 50% be­low a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey to­day.

While the in­vest­ment trans­ac­tions re­port from agents Lam­bert Smith Hampton said in­vestor ap­petite had im­proved in the third quar­ter, ac­tiv­ity over­all re­mained low at 38% be­low the five-year quar­terly av­er­age.

LSH said there had been two ma­jor re­tail dis­pos­als, with Home Bar­gains buy­ing Castle­bawn Re­tail Park out­side New­tow­nards for £7.2m, and a pri­vate in­vestor buy­ing La­harna Re­tail Park in Larne for £3.5m.

The last three months did see the first of­fice in­vest­ments of 2018 as three ma­jor as­sets changed hands.

Around £20m in in­vest­ment deals are in the pipe­line and set to com­plete in the last few months of the year.

With a com­bined value of £39.4m, the sales of Metro Build­ing, Obel 68 and 20 Ade­laide Street in the third quar­ter had ac­counted for 74% of deals.

The Metro Build­ing at Done­gall Square South was sold for £21.8m to an un­named prop­erty trust, while Obel 68, which was sold to Belfast Har­bour Com­mis­sion­ers, com­manded £15.2m.

Num­ber 20 Ade­laide Street was sold for £2.4m.

LSH said pri­vate North­ern Ire­land in­vestors were very ac­tive, and were re­spon­si­ble for the largest pro­por­tion of in­vest­ment vol­ume in the year so far.

Martin Mc­cloy, di­rec­tor of cap­i­tal mar­kets at Lam­bert Smith Hampton, said: “Al­though sub­dued in com­par­i­son to re­cent years, in­vest­ment has re­mained re­silient in the face of the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic head­winds of the last two years.

“We an­tic­i­pate that quar­ter four will fol­low the same trend as the two pre­vi­ous quar­ters, with £20m of deals cur­rently agreed or in legals.

“In­vestor ap­petite re­mains and in­vestors are tak­ing ad­van­tage where clear value can be found with qual­ity as­sets quickly be­ing agreed.”

He added: “The uncer­tainty con­tin­ues re­gard­ing the ex­act de­tail of the with­drawal and fu­ture re­la­tion­ship agree­ments be­tween the UK and EU.

“A blue­print for the fu­ture trade and se­cu­rity part­ner­ship should fur­ther in­crease con­fi­dence amongst in­vestors and the com­mer­cial prop­erty mar­ket.”

Mean­while, two ma­jor re­tail in­vest­ments have come onto the mar­ket. In Lon­don­derry, Cres­cent Link Re­tail Park has been put on the mar­ket by own­ers the Lo­tus Group for around £40m. Lo­tus Group also owns the Boule­vard out­side Ban­bridge, Co Down, and the Junc­tion out­side Antrim.

In Lis­burn, Bow Street Mall is on the mar­ket with an ask­ing price of £8.5m.

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