International investors view Dublin as a strong Brexit bet – Sunday Independent, 19 March 2017

Dublin’s commercial real estate sector is continuing to attract the interest of international funds and investors notwithstanding the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.That was the key message coming from Irish attendees at the annual MIPIM global property conference, which took place in Cannes last week.

While activity in the Irish commercial property market has been relatively subdued so far this year in comparison to the near record levels experienced in 2016, Sean O’Neill, director of agents TWM, said those funds he spoke to at MIPIM saw Ireland, and Dublin in particular, as an attractive market.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, O’Neill said: “The property market is generally doing extremely well. And far as foreign investors are concerned Ireland, and Dublin particularly, remain an attractive market. There’s a big demand for property. Interest rates are low and Brexit is not being seen as a deterrent for investors. They still want to invest in the UK and they still want to invest in Ireland.
“Brexit is being viewed by the funds and other investors I’ve met here as a positive for Dublin certainly, but maybe not as much for the rest of the country,” he added.

Asked where the various funds and investors’ interests lay in terms of deploying their money in Dublin, O’Neill said: “The office market is still very strong and is considered to be well-priced compared to elsewhere in Europe. “They [foreign investors] like the story in Dublin and they are anticipating the movement of companies from the UK.”
Arguably more significant is the interest O’Neill said those in attendance at MIPIM expressed in becoming involved in Dublin’s residential market.

He said: “There would be an appetite for buying blocks of apartments for entry into the rental market. They [the funds] wouldn’t be put off by the Government’s introduction of the 4pc per annum cap [on rent increases] as a bar to investing.
“In fact, a lot of them say they would be very happy to achieve that kind of return anywhere else in Europe,” he added.