Saturday 20 December 2014

Dublin is "back", according to JLL

Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30

30 July 2013   Samuel Beckett Bridge (connects Guild Street to Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin). Picture: Caroline Quinn
There is now a "compelling case" to invest in commercial property here, say JLL

DUBLIN is back as a destination for international investment, with value still available in an increasingly crowded market.

Research from JLL claims the Ireland offers a "compelling case" for investment at present.

"As an independent country with its own economy and being part of the Eurozone, Ireland has many impressive achievements, particularly for a country of its size, say JLL. Investors are attracted to Ireland for the pro-business environment. The 12.5pc corporate tax rate, young highly skilled workforce, London time zone, and overall transparency make Ireland a great place to do business. It is this culture which drove Ireland to face up early to the economic crisis in 2008 and pull together to make difficult decisions,becoming an "exemplary model" of compliance with macro-economic discipline, as described by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. Now, a belief in Ireland's economic and property recovery is what is driving investor demand, with real opportunities available across sectors.

JLL Ireland's managing director and head of investment John Moran highlights five main reasons for investing here today.

Ireland is moving in the "right direction" with strong GDP growth comparable to the UK and prime office rental growth forecast to be number 1 across Europe, he states.

Even with that recovery, prime office capital values are still 59pc lower than the peak

Sustainability is another reason for investing, Mr Moran says. "Dublin is in the second phase of growth and therefore recovery is expected to be sustainable," he claims.

The market is now highly liquid as well, perhaps more so than 2006, Mr Moran adds.

Investment activity has now returned to levels ahead of the peak, with total volumes for 2014 forecast to hit €4bn and investor nvestor demand is broad across all asset classes, with recent sales in offices, retail, industrial, hotels and pubs.

Dublin office capital values decreased by two thirds from peak-to trough but have since increased by 19pc. They still remain 59pc below the peak of the market and are currently at 1998 levels in real terms.

JLL believe that compared to other cities across Europe, prime Dublin office yields continue to offer strong returns ahead of similar stable markets.

At present, the prime Dublin office rent is at 484 per sq m per annum. This level of rent is comparable to other European cities such as Luxembourg €504 per sq m), Oslo, Milan, and Frankfurt.

In the next five years though, Dublin prime office rental growth is forecast to be the strongest performer across the whole of Europe.

JLL's research comes even as some investors from overseas begin to hint that prices in the Irish market are beginning to get ahead of themselves.

Speaking at an investment conference in London last month, Kennedy Wilson managing director Fiona D'Silva said her firm was beginning to focus more on Italy and Spain and was less focused on Ireland.

A report from Cushman and Wakefield meanwhile has highlighted the investment opportunities in southern Europe, adding to the perception that the initial splurge on Irish commercial property is starting to come to an end.

Even so, European investors are still known to be assessing assets here.

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