Northern Ireland

Best results in years for commercial property sales

Obel building
Image caption The Obel office sale generated significant investment.

Northern Ireland saw its best result in years in the commercial property market in 2014.

A report from Savills Northern Ireland showed that £500m worth of sales were made last year.

The company said transactions involving the likes of the Obel office and apartment building in Belfast meant investment reached "pre-economic crisis levels."

The 2014 performance represented a 186% increase on 2013.

The growth was largely driven by retail sector deals.

New York investment fund Marathon not only bought the Obel, but also the Cityside and Shane retail parks in Belfast.

Savills Director Ben Turtle said the properties gave attractive rental returns for investors.

He said he expected no drop in demand for property, with office and retail rents likely to increase this year.

The Savills report coincides with Northern Ireland being tipped as having huge potential for retailers in 2015.

A UK-wide study was commissioned by law firm TLT.

It said: "While the general economy in Northern Ireland is growing at a slower rate than the rest of the UK, the region's potential as a destination for retailers stems from its increasing consumer confidence and spending."

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