Investors are likely to spend up to €3 billion buying commercial property in Ireland this year, according to a report published by estate agent JLL. That would be a significant drop from the record €4.5 billion spent in 2014 but still well above the ten year average for Ireland of €1.4 billion.

Hannah Dwyer, of JLL Dublin, says that no-one predicted the strength and pace of recovery in the Irish real estate sector last year. Ms Dwyer says the amount of deals and the turnaround seen in values was "quite astonishing". 2014 was the country's highest year ever for commercial property deals at €4.5 billion and the spending was split equally 50-50 between Irish and overseas investors. Lots of Irish institutions and REITs were very active in the last 12 months, the estate agent says. 

Ms Dwyer predicts that investors will stay in the Irish market in the coming months, while new entrants coming on stream all the time. A lot of capital has been raised across Europe and the rest of the world and those funds are now looking for a home, she states. Ireland does still offer very good returns and it is a very transparent market with a lot of opportunities. She predicts that if anything, there will be more people looking to invest in Irish property during this year. 

Despite rising prices, Ms Dywer says that the Irish market does still offer good opportunities compared to the rest of Europe and so investors will continue to look at the market here. But the type of assets they are looking at has certainly changed with some "opportunistic" people now looking at properties outside of the prime Dublin office area. The Dundrum shopping centre in Dublin - valued at about €1 billion - is rumoured to be coming on to the market soon, but it remains unclear whether it will be sold on its own or as part of a portfolio with other assets. She predicts that retail is going to the strongest performer in the commercial property market and Dundrum is going to be a benchmark to gauge the level of appetite that is out there. 

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MORNING BRIEFS - The International Monetary Fund has cut its global economic growth forecast for both this year and 2016. 
The Fund says the picture for 2015 is complicated by the fall in oil prices which, it says, is of benefit to many countries and broadly supports economic growth but is causing problems for other countries - not least obviously those which are dependent on revenue from oil exports. For 2015, the themes the IMF are watching are divergence between growth prospects between the US and the EU, slowing growth in China which is also affecting much of South Asia and Australia and - likely - a sharp drop in economic output in Russia. Overall the IMF says global economic output will rise by 3.5%. This time last year the Fund was forecasting growth of 3.7%. The actual result was 3.3%. 

*** Not content with winning a Golden Globe for its comedy series Transparent, Amazon is stepping up its content production and acquisition strategy this year taking the fight to rivals such as Netflix. Amazon said it was seeking to make or buy up to a dozen films a year that will go on cinema release but will be available for subscribers to stream at home over its Prime Instant Video service within four to eight weeks of their cinema debuts. Among the first films on the production slate is a sequel to Chinese martial arts blockbuster "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".