High rate of commercial vacancies

Vacancies in commercial premises remain “stubbornly high” around the country with more than one in 10 buildings unoccupied, a report from property database GeoDirectory has said.

The regular GeoView report from GeoDirectory, a company jointly established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland, said the total stock of commercial properties in the Republic in the last quarter of 2018 was 211,610, of which 27,951 were vacant.

Sligo recorded the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 18.9%, while Meath was lowest at 10.4%.

The North-West is falling further behind the rest of Ireland, GeoDirectory said, with almost one-third of commercial premises in Ballybofey in Donegal vacant.

The report said: “It is generally accepted that the recovery over recent years has not been as broad-based as it should have been. 

Despite improvements relative to previous years, this analysis demonstrates that many areas across Ireland continue to experience notably high commercial vacancy rates, and that improvements in vacancy rates continue to be concentrated on the east coast, particularly in the greater Dublin area.

The average commercial vacancy rate in Munster was 12.9%, a decrease of 0.1% on the previous year, while three of the six counties recorded annual increases in their respective vacancy rates, GeoDirectory said.

Limerick had the highest vacancy rate in Munster, with a rate of 15.2%, while Kerry had the lowest rate at 10.6%.

Of individual towns, Kilrush in Clare had the highest vacancy rate in Munster at 26.6%, while Shannon, Newcastle West and Youghal, all had more than one-fifth of commercial buildings unoccupied.

Carrigaline in Cork recorded the lowest vacancy rate in Munster at 9%.

Although 13 of the 26 counties recorded a decline in vacancy rates over the course of the year, nine of the 13 were located in Leinster, the report said.

Of the 13 counties to register an increase in vacancy rates, four were in Connacht, while three each were in Munster, Leinster and Ulster. 

Leitrim and Roscommon each recorded the largest increase in vacancy rates, up 0.8% on the previous year.

Leinster, when Dublin is excluded, had the lowest provincial vacancy rate in the State, at 12.4%, GeoDirectory said.

The average commercial vacancy rate for Dublin was 12.2% in the last quarter of 2018, representing a drop of 0.2% over the year.

Of the 22 Dublin districts, 16 had vacancy rates below the national average, unchanged from last year.

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