Hotel sales boosted in final quarter
There was increased interest in acquiring regional hotels in Ireland last year, but the total value of deals done in the sector in 2017 still tumbled to €270m from a record €720m in 2016.
The figures were released in a new report from real estate group Cushman & Wakefield.
Regional hotels have seen their economic fortunes broadly lifted as the country's growth accelerates and the number of visitors to Ireland rises. But the hotel transaction figure for 2017 was boosted to the tune of €171.2m in the final quarter of the year by just three large hotel sales.
The included the €57m sale of the four-star Carton House Hotel and Golf Resort in Co Kildare to Irish-American businessman John Malone. Mr Malone, the billionaire chairman of cable company Liberty Global, owns a number of hotels and properties in Ireland either solely or as part of consortia. Also sold in the final quarter of 2017 was the four-star Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Resort in Co Meath. It was acquired by Irish firm Blackbee Investments for €17.5m.
Blackbee is an investment vehicle at which former Ulster Bank chief economist Pat McArdle is chairman.
Two of the most significant transactions in 2017 were the €87m acquisition of the Gibson Hotel in Dublin's Docklands by German investment group DekaBank.
Cushman & Wakefield said that despite some large deals in 2017, the year was characterised by smaller, single asset transactions and off-market deals.
It noted that 63pc of the hotel sales last year were for between €1m and €10m each, while 23 sales were for less than €1m each.
One-third of the sales in 2017 consisted of off-market transactions, it added.