Northern Irelands’ commercial property market is benefitting from a recent sale when Belfast’s Castle Court Shopping Centre was sold in July 2017 for a staggering £123 million. The property was sold to County Down investment firm Wirefox who have recently been investing in various regions of the United Kingdom. The Castle Court shopping centre purchase should complement their recent investments in the Scottish commercial property market, where Wirefox purchased 6 properties just outside of Glasgow for a total of £35 million.
This sale of Castle Court alone, which is one of the biggest in recent years was a considerable factor in the Northern Irish commercial property market closing in a very strong position for 2017. This brought the total investment figure for the year 24% above the year before at £340 million and at the top of a 5-year average.
2017 also saw changes in the commercial property market due to the rise of demands for long leased assets, such as student accommodation, hotels and gyms which are now transacting on a more frequent basis.
Retail saw lots of movement, with almost £231 million traded through 2017 which dominated the market overall. High-profile transactions included the sale of Tesco Extra in Newry which sold for £27.7 million and another purchase of Tesco in Craigavon for £24 million, 5 Iceland supermarkets also sold throughout 2017 ranging from £700,000 to £1.3 million.
Figures show that private investors played a critical part in the movement of the Northern Irish commercial market in 2017. While private investors were responsible for just 15% of the investment volume in during 2017, they were actually involved in 44 out of 66 deals made.