Unlike other locations in the United Kingdom, the commercial property market in Northern Ireland has not suffered from a lack of consumer confidence or buyer uncertainty.
In fact, compared to England’s reported drop of nearly 2% in the business property selling sector since summer 2015, and a post election rush to withdraw investments in such projects, Brexit seems to have had the opposite effect on the market in Northern Ireland, where the commercial property market is thriving.
Research undertaken by Lisney shows that in the few months since the public voted to leave the EU, commercial property sales worth around £45m have been processed across Northern Ireland.
These deals include a £31m deal involving Damolly Retail Park in Newry, and another £36m on two more shopping centres in Larne and Strabane.
Alongside large scale retail projects, there has been a surge of interest in city centre properties, with vacant units being snapped up faster than usual. Across the border, specialists in shop design in Dublin are in high demand.
Retail is perhaps the most impressive post-Brexit rapid growth area, but it’s not the only one, as office space is also being snapped up in bigger numbers than before, with buyers racing to do deals before prices rise any further.
Attracting both domestic and foreign investment
The post-Brexit weakening of the pound has also made Northern Ireland an attractive investment opportunity for overseas investors. Close neighbours are taking notice too, especially the Irish Republic, which has its fair share of entrepreneurs who can easily travel across the border to take advantage of this opportunity for financial gain. There’s no doubt that those with a proven model for successful shop design in Dublin could easily replicate this over the border.
A basic explanation for the interest in Irish property
Basic economic theory tells us that unsettled economies tend to trigger property devaluation, and indeed the immediate reaction to the Brexit vote was of falling commercial land prices, fewer enquiries of interest and a stagnant market.
However, just a few months later and the situation has turned around; most likely due to the low interest rates on both savings and mortgages, which make investing in property the best bet for any kind of financial return or profit in the foreseeable future.