Belfast Crane Survey 2021

Navigating through adversity

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For businesses, landowners, developers and government, the challenges of 2020 have been unprecedented. With employees working from home and most offices generally empty, along with customers unable to go to shops, bars and restaurants due to temporary closures resulting from COVID-19 restrictions, questions have been raised about what the ‘new normal’ looks like and the impact on the property sector.

The Crane Survey results this year show that the appetite for new schemes coming forward has remained relatively resilient, primarily driven by developments which were in the pipeline prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospitality industry has been acutely affected, with hotel occupancy at record lows and expenditure in local shops and businesses limited to online and takeaway. However, irrespective of COVID-19's short term impact on specific business sectors, the long-term demand to encourage more people to live and work in the regional centre remains.

Key findings

  • 7 new starts through 2020, representing a fall from the 11 new starts through 2019.
  • 23 developments in the city centre, either under construction or completed during 2020.
  • 11 Grade A office developments were under construction or completed in 2020, amounting to 1.3 million sq ft, over 300,000 sq ft more than the previous year. Approximately two-thirds of new office space remains available to-let.
  • Residential development continued to be a challenge for the city centre, with no new residential starts recorded through 2020, and only 42 units under construction.
City Core
Titanic Quarter
Transport Hub
Inner North
Southern Fringe
Linen Quarter

Scheme number:

Scheme name:





Completion date:


Space available sq ft:


Development activity


Volume of new starts

Volume under construction


Key contacts

Jackie Henry

Northern Ireland Office Senior Partner

Simon Bedford