31 October 2016

The Final Countdown – Belfast Telegraph Property Awards 2016


The countdown is on to the biggest celebration of the year in the property industry — the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Property Awards in association with

Entries have poured in for all of our categories which will recognise excellence in every area of the industry.

Sponsors too have been keen to get on board and be associated with our glittering event which will be staged in the Ramada Hotel in Shaw’s Bridge on November 18.

Today some of our sponsors spell out why they are happy for the chance to be part of what is a special day for property in Northern Ireland.

Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors a market leader in NI

In the often tricky business of handling property matters in Northern Ireland Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors is now a  market leader, participating in one in every 12 local property transactions.

The firm acts for banks, building societies, developers, builders, investors and private clients in both commercial and residential transactions.

Knowing just how fraught buying property can be the company was delighted to be involved in the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Property Awards.

Wilson Nesbitt is sponsoring The Property Deal of the Year Award which recognises outstanding investment in a property deal completed by a Northern Ireland based investor or seller.

Partner Neil Logan says: “The property market is continuing its upward trend and new commercial developments are starting to emerge to meet demand.

“We wanted to be involved in the awards to recognise the hard work that goes into making these developments possible.

“Property transactions are fraught with uncertainty, stress and pressure and it is no easy task to work under those conditions day-in and day-out. We congratulate everyone who has been nominated and recognise the achievement that it is to stand out in such a competitive industry.”

The company’s expertise in communication is what Neil says has set it apart in the property industry.

He says: “We provide a one-to one relationship service for our clients backed up with a serious level of technical expertise built up over many years. When problems arise there is always someone in the team who has confronted the same problem in the past; the answer is quickly provided and the problem accurately solved.”

The firm has a reputation for providing innovative solutions for clients. This reputation has been earned by long term investment in HR, systems and processes.

“We take a five-year view on our investment decisions and that is always ongoing,” explains Neill.

Technology plays a huge role in Wilson Nesbitt’s work and ambitions with the firm making a £1m investment in their IT personnel and systems over the last four years.

Says Neil: “We measure ourselves against the best efficiencies and client service levels in the UK. We have an in-house IT team who work with the different departments, including the property team, to continually enhance the firm’s working practices, risk management and client experiences. The team is supported by external specialist consultants.

“The innovative work we do for our major clients often results in improvements for our private clients. The firm has provided online case tracking for residential conveyancing clients for the last 14 years. We are currently working towards improved online direct participation in the conveyancing process for clients who wish to do so.”

The 30-strong Wilson Nesbitt property team specialise in commercial and residential property conveyancing and don’t venture into other areas of law that might compete for their attention. Efficiency and communication are the under-riding principles of the team structure and clients enjoy as smooth a process as possible underpinned by specialist knowledge and experienced risk and security management.

Carson McDowell Helps to Honour Commercial Development of the Year

We are delighted to have leading Belfast solicitors Carson McDowell on board to support the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Property Awards.

The company which has the largest commercial property team in Northern Ireland is aptly sponsoring our Commercial Development of the Year Award.

This category is open to developers either operating within Northern Ireland or to local developers carrying out work outside the province.

Rosemary Carson is a Partner and Head of Real Estate at Carson McDowell.

She says: “The commercial property sector in Northern Ireland is enjoying a period of optimism following a challenging time over the past decade.

“This is mainly due to the interest in Belfast from investors and developers and the excellence and ambition of the people we will recognise at the Belfast Telegraph Property Awards 2016.

“Carson McDowell is pleased to play its part in acknowledging the achievements of the sector by sponsoring the Commercial Development of the Year award. “

The company’s professional commercial property team is supported by experienced standalone planning, environmental, property litigation and construction teams.

This unique offering sets the firm apart from other local law firms and has led to its successful involvement in many of the most exciting transactions in Northern Ireland in recent times, including acting for the Belfast Telegraph on the sale of our Royal Avenue premises and subsequent move to Clarendon Dock.

Rosemary says the firm is looking to the future redevelopment of Belfast: “We wholeheartedly support Belfast City Council in its campaign for regeneration and we remain focused on collaboratively working together to deliver a city centre which will drive economic growth and social benefits.

“As part of this work we were delighted to be part of the Belfast delegation at this year’s international property showcase at MIPIM.”

She adds: “The city centre is already enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment with planning applications in for a number of new office and hotel developments, and work underway on many others.

“We have been involved in many of these projects right through from site assembly to eventual leasing and relish working collaboratively with our clients to bring these projects to fruition. As a practice we want to be the first name on our client’s team sheet.”

Carson McDowell has also been busy on the retail side of the market this year. The company has a wealth of experience in this sector and act for many shopping centre owners and a host of multiple retailers, both well established and newcomers to the Northern Ireland market, including Tesco, Arcadia, DV8, Kiko Cosmetics, The Entertainer, Greggs and Patisserie Valerie.

This year has seen continued resurgence in some of Belfast’s traditional retail pitches such as the Donegal Place and Castle Lane area, in part driven by the favourable rates revaluation.

New ventures by retailers such as Skechers, Moss Bros, Stradivarius and DW Sports have all opened in recent months and a number of existing retailers, such as Zara and House of Fraser, have completed extensive refurbishments — confirming their confidence in the city centre.

Says Rosemary: “Northern Ireland has an exciting future ahead and the commercial property sector will play a vital role in shaping and delivering that future.

“Carson McDowell looks forward to being a part of that and wishes all the short-listed entrants luck in the awards.”

First Trust to Recognise Residential Development of the Year

First Trust Bank has had an active part in helping bring optimism back to the property market and now the company hopes to shine a light on others who have also played a role by coming on board for the 2016 Belfast Telegraph Property Awards.

The bank is sponsoring the Residential Development of the Year award in our showcase event which will bring together people from across the industry for a major celebration in November.

The Northern Ireland Housing Market Review Perspectives 2015- 2018 paints an optimistic picture of the property market.

Since 2012 there has been a steady increase in the number of residential property sales transactions, and in 2014 there were more than 20,000.

As the local housing market returns to a more normalised level, with the purchase of residential development land gaining momentum and the delivery of an increased number of new builds helping to address the current supply/demand imbalance, the overall number of transactions is expected to increase.

This optimism is apparent in the construction sector too. After six years of contraction, which took the sector in 2013 down to just 57 per cent of its 2007 peak, construction output in NI is predicted to have an annual average growth of three per cent over the next five years.

This will go some way to meet the shortfall in the supply of new housing.

Against this backdrop, Derek Wilson, Head of Mortgages at First Trust Bank, highlights the talent and commitment of NI companies to meet the needs of Northern Ireland’s housing market.

“While it is clear we need continuous residential and social housing development, we already have a quality and growing residential development market with a range of local businesses dedicated to satisfying evolving demands in the sector with innovative ideas — whilst being conscious of the social and environmental impact,” explains Derek.

“This is all the more evident when we look at the high calibre of entries in the upcoming Belfast Telegraph Property Awards 2016 which celebrate excellence within the property sector and indeed within Residential Development — an award category we are proud to sponsor.”

First Trust Bank has been active in the both social housing and private residential development markets.

Its investment support has helped create additional construction jobs and many other posts further along the supply chain helping grow existing communities and establish new ones.

“We also offer a wide range of mortgages through our branch network and our intermediary partners including Co-ownership Housing, first-time buyer, mover and switcher mortgages,” adds Derek.

Increased mortgage availability has played a major role in helping restore consumer confidence, with the number of loans across all sectors on the rise.

Speaking about this trend, Derek says, “Key to meeting consumer demand and support the growth of the residential sector is to ensure the mortgage process is open and easy to navigate and at First Trust Bank we’re happy to help.”

“Whether you are a housing group, a developer, a business or a potential home buyer — engaging with an expert early on can make a world of difference in the journey to completing the process of developing, building or buying a home.”

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