10/05/2002

Belfast City Centre is “thriving” says Finance Minister

Belfast has a vibrant property investment market attracting many of the major UK and Irish investors and is outperforming other key retail centres in Britain, according to the Minister of Finance and Personnel, Dr Seán Farren.

Speaking to an audience of property professionals at the launch of the Belfast Retail Market Report 2002 on Thursday evening the Finance Minister said Belfast City Centre was “thriving”.

The Retail Market Report, by the Valuation & Lands Agency, shows that Belfast is now strides ahead of some of the major important retail centres in the UK such as Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol with total returns in 2001 achieving 8.1% against a UK average of 3.9%.

The report found evidence suggesting that rents for prime shops in Belfast city centre is likely to increase and achieve new record levels in 2002.

Dr Farren said: “Belfast retail property continues to be very much in demand by investors. Leading estate agents agree that yields of 5 – 6 per cent could be expected for prime retail locations at the present time.”

Despite evidence of strong rental growth at Royal Avenue and the Castlecourt Shopping Centre, the report indicates that the prime retail pitch in Belfast continues to be Donegall Place with the notable redevelopment of the former C&A site providing the opportunity for WH Smith to gain a high profile first foothold in Northern Ireland.

The report also shows that generally the last year has been very active as regards occupier demand and, as well as boosting rental levels, this has had the effect of further strengthening the north/south axis of the main shopping area in the city.

The Valuation & Lands Agency, which is part of the Department of Finance and Personnel, produced the first Belfast Retail Market Report in 1989.

The report provides authoritative, unbiased opinion together with a large amount of statistical information on the current state of the market.

(AMcE)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

19 September 2013
Pubs Of Ulster And NIIRTA Meet With Richard Haass
The Chief Executives of Pubs of Ulster and the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association met with Dr Richard Haass and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan today.
22 September 2010
Bangor Sainsbury's Project Boosts Jobs
Development work will begin on a major superstore project in Bangor at the beginning of October, creating and securing dozens of construction jobs. The property expert who secured the deal to bring the Sainsbury's supermarket giant to Balloo Retail Park said that it will be a significant boost for the scheme and the local area.
24 September 2008
Training Takes To The Road
A new mobile unit aimed at bringing retail training direct to employees throughout Northern Ireland has been launched by NI Employment Minister, Sir Reg Empey (pictured).
16 February 2010
Belfast Retailers Offered Masterclasses
Belfast City Council is launching the next round of a popular business development programme 'Retail Therapy'. Open to all independent retailers across the city, it offers support and assistance on promoting their businesses to make them more competitive and profitable in today’s economic climate.
09 January 2002
Retail planning study commissioned for Belfast Metropolitan Area
Colliers CRE has been instructed to carry out a retail sector study for the Belfast Metropolitan Area.