Belfast’s office market is booming with demand now significantly exceeding supply of quality space around the city, according to the latest figures on the subject from CBRE.
In fact, the numbers suggest that the scale of office leasing activity seen across the Northern Irish capital during the third quarter of 2014 was almost double that recorded for the same period a year earlier. Plus, the third quarter of this year witnessed a major surge in signups for new office space in Belfast, with a majority of activity for the entire of 2014 recorded in that three-month period.
A total of 117,106 square feet of office space was let in Q3 2014, while the year as a whole has seen more than 200,000 square feet taken up throughout Belfast.
According to CBRE’s experts, there are issues to be addressed in Belfast in terms of how much Grade A office the city has to offer, with more than half a million square feet of space currently awaiting the requisite planning permissions. Meanwhile, around 1.9 million square feet of Belfast office space has planning permission but is yet to be built.
“As it stands, 37 per cent of the total square footage in planning could expire by the end of 2015 and some of the schemes that have achieved planning permission may not be developed in the short to medium term due to either a change of use for a particular site or issues around securing funding,” said David Wright from CBRE’s Belfast office.
“We are currently aware of at least 30 companies actively searching for Grade A accommodation, requiring over 620,000sq ft of office space,” Wright continued. “This is good news for the city and the economy as a whole with 82 per cent of demand coming from the private sector reducing our historical reliance on public sector tenants.”
According to CBRE, around 37 per cent of all Belfast office leasing activity in 2014 involved companies in the services and leisure sectors. Just under a quarter involved business services firms of various sorts and 11 per cent of the offices being taken are to be occupied by computer-related or high-tech companies.
The public sector only accounted for 10 per cent of overall leasing activity, which is being taken as a positive indicator of optimism and development within private sector elements of the Belfast economy.