Strong performance in the industrial & logistics sector continued in Q2 with low availability driving further rental growth.
Development activity is increasing and new developers are entering the market to deliver much-needed space. Large retailers and third-party logistics companies (3PLs) are actively looking for space across Ireland, driven in part by e-commerce growth, while investors continue to compete for a limited supply of opportunities in this sector. As a result, pre-letting and forward-funding transactions are becoming increasingly common.
Take-up in the industrial & logistics sector in Dublin reached just under 550,000 sq. ft. in Q2 2022, down 41% relative to Q1 and very low compared to previous quarterly averages. This is more a factor of limited supply than low demand, as take-up continues to be limited by a lack of suitable options across all size brackets and locations.
The Q2 total brings take-up for the first six months of 2022 to almost 1.5 million sq. ft. which is a 37% increase on the same period last year. The largest deal of Q2 involved Dunnes Stores expanding its logistics holding with a c. 78,500 sq. ft. unit at Stadium Business Park in Finglas, Dublin 11.
Prime rents in Dublin are now reaching €11.25 per sq. ft., an increase of 7.1% annually. For smaller units it is not uncommon to see rents above this level being agreed. Rising construction costs along with low supply should see prime rents continue to rise, likely exceeding €12 per sq. ft. by year-end.
Tight supply of best-in-class units has meant that rents for modern units in regional locations are almost on par with those being achieved in Dublin. Rents in Cork are now in the region of €10 per sq. ft. and expected to rise further. We have also seen rents of more than €11 per sq. ft. being achieved in Limerick / Shannon in certain cases. This is very different to the situation being experienced in the office market where prime rents in Dublin are more than double those in regional cities.
With supply nowhere near demand levels and vacancy in the region of 1%, developers in this sector continue to be extremely active and there have been several new entrants to the market in recent months.
Following the acquisition of the Core Portfolio last year, Palm Capital recently announced plans to invest €100 million in Naas Enterprise Park over the next five years and is also working with Jordanstown Properties in the development of new units at Greenogue Logistics Park. Esprit Investments recently submitted plans for 11 units totalling almost 300,000 sq. ft. in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, while Sandymark Investments, the sister company of Jordanstown Properties, is planning new industrial parks in Navan, Co. Meath, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork and Fermoy, also in Cork.
Newpark and Bain Capital are continuing development at Vantage Business Park in North Dublin, while UK logistics developer Chancerygate and partner Bridges Fund Management entered the Irish market with the acquisition of a 5-acre site on the Swords Road in Santry. Notably, Chancerygate / Bridges are planning to deliver smaller logistics units on this land which will be welcomed as most planned developments to date have been focused on delivering larger (50,000 sq. ft. plus) units.
Limited supply of larger units in particular has meant that new or expanding occupiers with large requirements now invariably need to either pre-let planned buildings or consider the Design & Build (sometimes referred to as ‘Build-to-Suit’) route.