Momentum in investment market could push property sales to €1.5bn
Investment of €612m in commercial property transactions during the first six months of the year means the deal flow has already surpassed the €557m notched up during all of 2012.
Property group Jones Lang LaSalle said the first half of 2013 saw more of the "significant uplift" in activity seen in the second half of 2012. Momentum in the investment market is expected to gather pace in the remainder of the year.
International investors have been snapping up key properties in Dublin in the past few months, including assets such as the Burlington Hotel and the Morrison Hotel.
US investment group Kennedy Wilson has also established itself as a major buyer of Irish property. It's also poised to complete a €306m takeover of a portfolio of assets that were previously owned by Treasury Holdings. Among them are the Stillorgan Shopping Centre and Bank of Ireland's HQ on Mespil Road in the capital.
It's expected that total investment property sales in Ireland could hit between €1.2bn and €1.5bn this year – more than twice the figure for 2012.
Jones Lang LaSalle said it has been in contact with investors who have as much as €6bn in capital and who are seeking to invest in Ireland.
"There continues to be a strengthening of overseas interest in the market with new entrants from the Middle East and Asia," said John Moran, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle in Dublin and the office's head of investment.
"The recent announcement by Green of the first Irish REIT (real estate investment trust) is also another considerable endorsement of the market and more importantly will provide longer-term liquidity into the future."
Management behind the company that owns Dublin's Blanchardstown shopping centre – Green Property – are ploughing €10m into Ireland's REIT, which is planning to raise at least €200m from international and domestic investors.
Hannah Dwyer, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle said she expected "some uplift" in values for prime assets this year.
Ms Dwyer said that in the capital's retail sector activity remains focused on prime product while secondary locations continue to struggle.