What global investment means for Northern Ireland's hotels

A new report from CBRE is noting that Northern Ireland's hotel sector in Northern Ireland has seen "a huge rise in activity" throughout 2015, with nine hotel transactions reaching a combined £67.36 million.

As the Belfast Newsletter notes, only three hotels with a combined value of almost £5 million were sold during all of 2014, including the Tower Hotel Derry for £4.4 million. The surge this year has been in part due to the sale of some distressed assets, but CBRE also indicates that buyer confidence could also play an important role.

Buyers from the U.S. have accounted for 44 percent of all transactions by value, which included the five-star luxury Lough Erne Resort and Jury’s Inn (part of a portfolio sale), while Southern Irish purchasers represented 47 percent, with the balance of 9 percent of investment value by parties based in Northern Ireland.

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At present, there are a limited number of hotels on the market, with new and existing hoteliers actively seeking to enter and expand within the Belfast market.

Around 20 new hotels are already in the works for the city, including the Titanic Hotel at the former Harland & Wolff drawing offices, City Quays, Grand Central, Bedford Street and Blackstaff Square Hotel. These new developments could mean up to an extra 4,000 rooms added to Belfast's portfolio, the Belfast Telegraph notes. "Based on our research, there is a potential pipeline of approximately 3,900 additional rooms which, if developed, would more than double the current room stock in the city," Brian Lavery, managing director of CBRE Belfast, said in a statement. "While we believe that there is demand for an extra 1,000 to 1,500 new bedrooms in the city over the next three to five years, we would be concerned if all the bedrooms in the pipeline were built out."

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