PRIME office rents in Dublin are almost three times more expensive than Belfast.
A report on the property sector in Northern Ireland also found that trading conditions for retailers in the North are very challenging despite a boost from cross-border shopping.
Property consultants, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) said prime office rents in Belfast now stand at £150 (€171) per square metre with further downward pressure likely considering the amount of new office accommodation planned in the region.
Compared with a current quoting headline rental level of €430 per square metre in Dublin, these rental levels are extremely competitive, the report said.
CBRE said there has been a slight improvement in property market activity in the North in recent months after what was a very challenging period in the first half of this year.
It said Northern Ireland has not escaped the effects of the economic downturn seen elsewhere and while the economy is better positioned than the Republic, demand in the key occupier markets in the region remains weak with rental and capital values under pressure.
Managing director of CBRE, Brian Lavery said: “The first half of 2009 has certainly been challenging for the Northern Ireland property market.
“The occupier markets have seen only limited transactions completed and negotiations becoming extremely protracted. There are reasons to be optimistic, however, as a number of transactions are being negotiated and should be completed in the third quarter.
“There is strong interest in some of the investment product that has recently come to market including the Richmond Shopping Centre in Derry and a portfolio of First Trust branches in the region, which leads us to believe that transactional activity in the investment market will improve this autumn.”
In the office sector, tenant demand has eased considerably, putting downward pressure on rental levels.
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