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Property investment in NI stages comeback in 2017
4 Jan

2017 saw a return to robust growth for Northern Ireland’s property investment market, with sales up a whopping 25% to finish at £325m (€366 million) compared to the previous year, but results were skewed by one large transaction worth £123m.

That’s according to Savills Ireland which accounted for 62% of all NI property agreements. The resurgence in 2017’s property investment market comes following two straight years of decline between 2015 and 2016, in which real estate investment fell 50%.

Last year’s success was primarily put down to the £123m sale of Castlecourt shopping centre to Wirefox last July. The sale of this popular shopping centre in Belfast accounted for nearly 40% of the country’s total figure last year.

For perspective, such was the significance of this sale that without it, 2017 would have been classed as yet another disappointing year for property investment in the country of nearly 2 million people.In fact, Savills NI director Ben Turtle said that while 2017 saw a welcome return to “robust investment activity”, without the Castlecourt Shopping Centre deal it would have been a “disappointing” year.

“Nonetheless, market fundamentals remain strong, with rental and value growth in both retail and office markets, which should continue to attract investor demand,” he added.

"Northern Ireland’s ability to attract further investment will depend on resolving the political impasse that has resulted in the Stormont assembly being suspended for much of 2017 and, of course, Brexit”.

He continued: “The fact that Brexit negotiations have now advanced to phase two discussions on wider-ranging trade arrangements is a positive development,” Mr Turtle said. “While there is a long way to go in the negotiations, the UK’s pledge to preserve the frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic also arguably nudges the overall outcome towards a softer Brexit, which would be economically beneficial to all the home nations.”

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