Hotel sales worth €140m in the pipeline for 2014
THERE are more than €140m worth of hotel deals in the pipeline already for next year, and there will be many more to come, claimed one of the biggest commercial property agents in the country.
CBRE's head of hotels for the UK and Ireland Paul Collins said there were already a slew of hotels ready to be sold, and it was a question of when rather than if they will be taken off the market.
Speaking at a Hotel Property Conference in Dublin, Mr Collins said there were 17 hotels worth €25m on the market as it is, with another 15 properties worth €96m at sale agreed.
Contracts worth another €43m have been signed over six hotels but they have yet to change hands.
Mr Collins said the market was close to being back to normal, but sites that had previously been earmarked for the building of hotels were now being looked at as potential office sites as office rents continue to surge.
However, Mr Collins, who is now based mainly in the UK, claimed there would likely be a need for new hotels to be built by 2015.
That comment however was dismissed by NAMA's head of hotels Padraig Ryan, who said there was still excess capacity on the market and there would likely be excess capacity for some time to come yet.
The conference -- the first of its kind since the crash -- heard that the profile of buyers has changed dramatically since the end of the market as international money flooded the market. That is beginning to change again however, with a new type of buyer coming to the market.
"There are more long term buyers coming in today," said Mr Collins.
"We may see the US hotel real estate investment trusts (REITs) coming in now.
"We have seen some bidders from continental Europe but they have been as aggressive as the US guys," he added.
That perception that the US REITs may be coming in now was echoed by the head of acquisitions for a major US investment firm, who was in attendance at the conference.
"Prices in the US are so high at the moment, there are far more opportunities in places like Ireland than there are at home. There is value here that you just don't see anywhere in North America," he added.
Hugh Taylor, who is leading the new joint venture that will see around 40 provincial hotels currently owned by Ulster Bank come under a new brand, said the JV was also in talks with hotels that had no relationship with Ulster Bank.
"That's a common myth, but we are looking at doing business with numerous hotels -- you don't have to be owned by Ulster Bank to be part of our new brand," he said.