Created by John Quinn
Now is the Time to Invest in Belfast, say Experts
The event was hosted by MSCI, a leading provider of investment decision support tools worldwide, in association with Ulster University. Representatives from the real estate sector in Northern Ireland joined international funds and investors to hear from a range of speakers on why now is the time to invest in commercial property in Belfast.
Professor Alastair Adair, Pro Vice Chancellor at Ulster University, said: “Our research has provided us with valuable intelligence which highlights the significant opportunities that Belfast has to offer property investors seeking higher yields in a transparent UK market. Returns on offer in Belfast are the third strongest of any city in the UK and Ireland, and the risk profile is no different to other UK cities.
“The reduction of corporation tax in April 2018 is likely to have a positive impact on commercial property rental growth and demand. Our highly skilled graduates are already a key factor in securing investment across Northern Ireland. Coupled with the knowledge base and the positive global impact of university-based research, this makes Belfast, and Northern Ireland as a whole, an extremely attractive investment location.”
According to Colm Lauder, Vice-President at MSCI, “Income returns in the Belfast market are amongst the highest in the British Isles, despite the city displaying a similar level of income risk to other cities. This may entice new investors into the market as they eye up discounted assets with strong income profiles and good international tenants.”
Belfast City Council Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie told delegates that there has never been a better time to invest in Belfast. “Momentum is gathering pace in Belfast. The planning system is packed full of applications, there are schemes coming out of the ground, the economic outlook is positive – even before the impact of the reduction in corporation tax in April 2018 is properly felt.
“It is a good time to invest in Belfast due to the alignment of the conditions which are driving economic growth – particularly FDI, current land values, a coherent strategic approach to developing the city and the planned reduction in corporation tax down to 12.5%.
“Our visitor economy has also quadrupled over the past decade and we’re looking to double this over the next five years,” she continued, “and according to the UK Attractiveness Survey 2015, we secured the highest levels of employment from FDI in the UK last year. This is all driving demand for development and investment projects in the city.
“From HBO’s Game of Thrones to Deloitte, IBM, Citi and First Derivatives, our roll call of investment businesses buying into the reality of our story is the main indicator for us that we’re getting this right.”
Bill Montgomery, Director of International Investment at Invest Northern Ireland also addressed delegates. He commented: “Northern Ireland and Belfast have had a huge success story in securing FDI in key sectors in recent years, far exceeding investment targets and growth of new first time investors. There is significant confidence and optimism in FDI pipeline and the enhanced Northern Ireland proposition for the future.”
FDI Intelligence named Belfast as the most business friendly city of its size in Europe last year, with the Financial Times also referring to the City as ‘a thriving node in the complex network that is the modern international finance market’ last week.
Delegates at the event heard that ambitious plans for growth in Belfast are being led by Belfast City Council in a real partnership approach with the private and public sector. The pending reduction in corporation tax, combined with the talent and technology already in place, has presented potential investors with an unprecedented time of unlimited opportunity to invest in commercial real estate in Belfast.