Skip to main content Skip to footer

Northern Ireland Revaluation likely to lead to increase in rates bills in 2020

09 01 20 Business rates in Belfast

Northern Ireland Revaluation likely to lead to increase in rates bills in 2020 particularly for Belfast city centre offices says Colliers- although retail should fall. Estimates based upon NAV rises of over 30% in office sector since last list in 2015.


A number of office businesses in Northern Ireland should see some steep rises in their rates bills from 1 April 2020, when the new bills are issued, according to business rates experts at Colliers International, the global property consultants. 

Land and Property Services (LPS) has this week published its draft revaluations list figures for all 74,000 non-domestic properties in Northern Ireland. This is the first time net annual value (NAV) has been adjusted since 2015, where NAV was based on April 2013 rental values. The 2020 Valuation List will be based on April 2018 rental values.

NAV is used together with district and regional business rates poundages to calculate the actual bills for businesses. LPS is planning to release these poundages on Friday 14th February 2020.

Analysing the new list Colliers has noted:
  • An overall increase of 6.8% on the 2015 List values.
  • A large proportion of the NAV increase is within the Grade A office sector, with values increasing by over 30% over their 2015 values, particularly in Belfast. The Soloist Building in Belfast for example, is expecting around a 36% increase on its 2015 List Entry and the Metro Building an increase of over 33%.
  • The picture in Belfast city centre retail has been mixed. Donegall Place and Victoria Square values remain unchanged on the 2015 List values, however Castlecourt has seen a decline of 27.41% on 2015 list values, as expected. Castle Lane, which witnessed an uplift in footfall, following the Primark fire has increased by over 11% on its 2015 values.
  • Out of town retailing is more locational rent specific but generally the status quo has been maintained, with some local wins for ratepayers.
  • Regional town centre retail values have fallen in some areas. Bangor Main Street, for example, which has witnessed steady vacancy, is seeing an approximate 24% reduction in 2015 List Values. This will be welcomed by local ratepayers.
  • Supermarket values have fallen from their 2015 List values. Springhill in Bangor will see a reduction in its NAV of 15% effective from April 2020.
  • Hotels and city centre bars (particularly in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast) are going to see a large increase in their rates bills. More than 90% of hotels have had their valuations increased.
  • Interestingly, NAV for Purpose Built Student Accommodation in the city centre has also increased. One of the biggest schemes, on Great Patrick Street, has seen its rateable value increase by more than 70%. By contrast PBSA does not attract rates in England and Wales.

Commenting on the new list, David Hughes of Colliers International, based in Belfast, said, “NAV rises of over 30% will have a major impact on some businesses once the new rates bills are introduced in April. Such businesses have already been suffering as a result of Brexit uncertainty and increased costs. We suggest business owners carefully check their new valuations and seek professional help to challenge on or after 1 April 2020, if they feel that their new NAVs are unreasonable. We will certainly be looking closely to do this for our clients.”
John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers International added, “Although the business rating system in Northern Ireland is very different to Great Britain's, with five yearly valuations and an even more complicated appeals system, the elephant in the room in both places remains the multiplier. At over 50% in England and Wales, this is an eye-watering 60% plus in some areas of Northern Ireland. Whilst we await to see actual rate poundages on February 14th we are expecting these to remain high and at such levels will be crippling to businesses. As in the rest of the UK,  we need decent business rates reform in Northern Ireland and taxes that encourage rather than punish businesses.”



Related Experts

David Hughes

Senior Surveyor

Business Space Lease Advisory


David is a Senior Surveyor within the Colliers Professional Services Department. 

Since joining Colliers International he has advised on rent reviews, lease renewals, lease restructures and Non-Domestic Rating work on behalf of a number of landlord and tenant clients.

View expert

John Webber

Head of Rating



I have over 35 years’ experience in the rating industry and lead a 135 plus rating team at Colliers.  When I took over responsibility for the team in 2005, it consisted of only a dozen people and has now grown into one of the leading rating advisory teams in the country.  I am a member of Colliers' UK Management Executive as well as sitting on the company’s Balance in Business Committee. 

I am regularly called upon by the national media to give my views on a range of business rates issues and I am involved in lobbying MPs/ministers and senior civil servants on business rates matters.

I started my career in the Valuation Office Agency in Kidderminster.  I joined Gerald Eve in 2000 where I spent 10 years before moving to Gooch Webster (now Colliers). I sit on the National Retail Panel of Rating Surveyors Association which provides guidance on how the RSA town committees work with the VOA and valuation matters.  I have also held the postion as Chair of the RICS Rating Diploma Committee having passed the prestigious qualification in 2014. I currently sit on the Rating Surveyors Association National Committee .

Along with Philip Harrison we founded 'Accurates' in 2007, the Collier's Compliance and Audit team, which although forms an integral part of the Rating team is now a leading brand in its own right.

View expert

Hannah Zitren

Associate Director

Marketing & Communications


I am responsible for media relations and generating coverage in top tier broadcast and print media. I work across a range of Colliers’ UK & Pan-EMEA business lines advising on their strategic and tactical PR needs.

My role includes:

·         Developing and executing PR plans for the various business lines to help promote their key messages across all aspects of the media - print, broadcast and social.

·          Media evaluation and reporting objectives, targets and successes across the business.

·         Reputation management and crisis management.

·         Media training.

·         Media engagement: setting up meetings with top tier media and various internal spokespeople to continuously expand and build a presence with property and vertical media network.

·         Consistently delivering service excellence, meeting with business heads of a regular basis and trying to influence the research as much as possible to ensure our content has a strong enough news hook.

·         Key campaigns that I work on include MIPIM; MAPIC; REVO; Midsummer Retail Report; IHIF; Cities of Influence in addition to a host of all alternative property sector research reports.

View expert