Corporate deals: the commercial property market

Ulster Business looks at the deals done here in the last few months, the major assets currently on the market and what the road ahead looks like for the commercial market here

Commercial investment volume here sat at £30.1m during the second quarter of 2023 – that was some 77% below that of the previous three years and around 54% below the five-year quarterly average, according to Lambert Smith Hampton.

“While investment volume was subdued, activity was on trend with 10 transactions recorded in quarter two,” the firm said.

It says that the second quarter performance is in “stark contrast to the first quarter of 2023 which was the busiest quarter since the Covid-19 pandemic began”.

Overall, volume in the first half of 2023 of £161.6m stood 20% above the half year five-year average, underpinned by the strong first quarter, according to Lambert Smith Hampton.

The largest single transaction in the second quarter was the purchase of Bedford House in Belfast city centre.

The 10-floor office building went on the market for £24.3m, described as “one of the most prestigious” to go on sale here in a decade.

Bedford House, which is owned by Ulster Estates, has tenants including business advisers EY, built environment consultancy firm Arup, investment bank Cowen and insurance broker and risk adviser Marsh.

The glass-fronted building is close to City Hall and a short distance from the new transport hub at Weavers Cross. It has 90,000 sq ft of grade A office accommodation on the upper floors, with four retail units at ground level.

The investment is let to 14 tenants generating an annual net income of nearly £1.6m.

“The office market has been disproportionally affected by the longer-term impact of Covid-19 and recent trends in office investment have reflected this,” according to Lambert Smith Hampton. “In a change of fortune, office investment

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