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Press release

26 OCT 2017

Office demand the bright spot in NI market

Occupier demand for office space is one of the few bright spots in Northern Ireland’s commercial property market, according to the latest RICS and Ulster Bank Commercial Market Survey.

Read and download the full survey

Demand from tenants across the office sector rose in the third quarter of the year according to the balance of Northern Ireland surveyors, whilst demand for retail space fell and demand within the industrial market was flat.

Meanwhile the volume of enquiries from potential investors fell back in the quarter, according to respondents, including a further decline in enquiries from foreign investors.

As a result of the constrained demand, three-month expectations for both rents and capital values remained subdued.

Political uncertainty  including the ongoing Brexit negotiations – continues to be seen by surveyors as an impediment to market activity. In relation to the investment market, respondents have indicated that reduced supply of assets for sale is also an issue.

Survey highlights

  • A net balance of 3% of respondents reported occupier demand (all sectors) being up in the third quarter (this eased from 17% in Q2). Office demand was up according to a net balance of 20% of respondents.
  • The net balance for 3-month rent expectations was 10%, meaning that 10% more surveyors expect rents to rise than fall.
  • Investment enquires fell, according to net balance of -15% of respondent.
  • The net balance for 3month capital value expectations was +4 (down from +15% in Q2).
  • The net balance for foreign investment enquires (-22%) was in negative territory for the sixth quarter in succession.