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Co Tyrone shopping village sold for £4m

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The Moygashel designer spot was one of several major commercial property deals which completed in the first quarter of 2024, according to CBRE NI.

It also says the take-up of office space here was almost 50% higher than the same period a year earlier.

CBRE Northern Ireland recorded office take-up at 99,931 sq ft, which was also a 36% increase on the final quarter of last year.

There were some 18 office deals completed in total, with the three largest deals accounting for just over 52% of total take-up and the remainder of deals at 7,000 sq ft or less.

And commercial properties sold in Northern Ireland during the quarter included the ETAP Hotel in Belfast, which sold for £7.35m, Bannatyne Health Club in Holywood, for £3.5m, and Homebase in Orritor Road Retail Park in Cookstown, which went for £3m.

“It has been a slow start to 2024 for the Northern Ireland commercial property market in terms of overall investment levels, but inflationary pressure is easing and market sentiment is improving following the welcome return of the Northern Ireland Executive,” Brian Lavery, managing director, CBRE NI, said.

“With 90% of companies committed to re-establishing their physical presence by the end of the year, the office market is in a more stabilised position and, with several deals going into legals recently, this hopefully signals a positive 2024 ahead.

“The end of the Stormont hiatus has released the handbrake that has been on the commercial property market, creating a more certain and attractive environment for investors and developers to turn challenges into opportunities.”

The largest investment sector so far this year has been retail, representing nearly 60% of the total investment spend followed by alternatives at 20% and offices at 17%, CBRE NI said.

“Domestic Northern Ireland investors continue to be the largest investors within the market, representing 83% of the total investment spend over the quarter.

“New enquiries for large industrial units are on the rise but with vacancy levels low in existing developments, the challenge remains in finding new suitable sites”.

Mr Lavery said: “We warned in January that three-quarters of Belfast’s office stock may become obsolete by 2030 due to upcoming EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) legislation. That is clearly resonating with the market as a number of companies are searching for new space that meets their ESG goals despite existing leases not expiring for a number of years.

“The hotel sector has maintained its momentum from the end of last year with a strong start to 2024, while it has been something of a mixed bag for retail, with the market remaining healthy despite a few administrations being reported. The out-of-town retail warehouse sector continues to perform well, as does the food and beverage market.

“Trends in the industrial and logistics sector remain consistent with 2023’s picture whereby enquiries remain high but suitable sites are lacking, and vacancy levels remain low in existing developments.

“Obsolescence remains a threat for older assets and there could be refinancing challenges for loans that reach maturity over the next 12 months, with many likely to have originated in a very different interest environment and against the backdrop of contrasting real estate market conditions.”

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