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Over 28,000 Vacant Commercial Properties in Ireland

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Over 28,000 Vacant Commercial Properties in Ireland

Over 28,000 Vacant Commercial Properties in Ireland
August 26
15:00 2019

The national commercial vacancy rate has risen to 13.3% in Q2 2019, an increase of 0.2 percentage points (pp) on Q2 2018, according to the latest GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report published by GeoDirectory. The report, prepared by EY-DKM Economic Advisory Services, found that just over 28,000 commercial units were vacant across the country.

The east-west divide in terms of commercial activity shows no sign of slowing down, with the highest commercial vacancy rates occurring in Connacht. Sligo is the county with the highest vacancy rate at 18.9%, followed by Leitrim (16.7%), Roscommon (16.3%), Mayo (16.3%) and Galway (16.2%). Meath was the county with the lowest vacancy rate at 10.1%, followed by Kerry (10.6%) Wexford (10.9%) and Westmeath (11.6%).

Worryingly, 18 counties recorded an increase in vacancy rates in Q2 2019, while 15 counties had higher rates than the national average of 13.3%. The largest percentage point increase in commercial vacancies occurred in Leitrim and Roscommon, rising by 1.1pp and 0.9pp respectively. Laois recorded the highest decrease, with the vacancy rate falling by 0.9pp.

In the capital, the average commercial vacancy rate was 12.1%, unchanged from the same period in 2018. However, vacancy rates fluctuate considerably depending on Dublin postcode. The area with the lowest vacancy rate in the county was Dublin 16 at 6.9%, while Dublin 8 recorded the highest vacancy rate in the capital at 15.4%, well above the national average.

Unsurprisingly, Dublin leads the way in total commercial address points, accounting for 23.6% of the national total. When the remaining counties in Leinster are included, the province contains 49.5% of the national commercial stock.

Edenderry, Co. Offaly is the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 28.8%, an increase of 3.1pp on the same time last year. Ballybofey, Co. Donegal (28%) and Kilrush, Co. Clare (26.5%) also posted high vacancy rates. Greystones in Co. Wicklow posted the lowest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 5.8%.

Accommodation and Food Services Sector

The report also gives a more detailed analysis of the GeoDirectory database by examining the breakdown of address points by sector of economic activity, using NACE* codes. The GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report for Q2 2019 focuses on the Accommodation and Food Services sector. This sector includes restaurants, event catering & food services, beverage serving activities, hotels and other forms of short-term accommodation.

Through the analysis of NACE* codes, the report finds that the west coast of Ireland is heavily reliant on the Accommodation and Food services sector. 23.8% of commercial units in Kerry are classified as being involved in the Accommodation and Food services sector, the highest in the country. West coast counties Clare (20.5%), Donegal (19.2%), Leitrim (18.2%) and Mayo (17.6%) all recorded high concentrations of commercial units in this sector.

Commenting on the report, Dara Keogh, CEO, GeoDirectory, said: “The latest GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report shows that the east-west divide in commercial activity is widening and not closing. The five Connacht counties recorded vacancy rates considerably higher than the national average, with increases in every county except Galway. 18 counties in Ireland recorded an increase in commercial vacancy rates, as economic activity is increasingly centred around the Greater Dublin Area.”

Annette Hughes, Director, EY-DKM Economic Advisory, said: “Our analysis shows that almost 50% of all commercial units in the country are located in Leinster, with just over 20% located in the provinces of Connacht and Ulster combined. This is worrying, considering that most of these counties have also recorded higher than average commercial vacancy rates. With a high proportion of counties on the west coast relying on the accommodation and food services sector, commercial activity in these counties could be vulnerable to the impact of Brexit, particularly as a result of currency volatility and reduced tourism.”

GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report Highlights:

  • National vacancy rate increased by 0.2 percentage points (pp) to 13.3% in Q2 2019
  • 28,063 commercial units were vacant in Q2 2019, out of a total commercial stock of 211,485
  • Counties on the west coast of Ireland are dependent on the Accommodation and Food services sector and most vulnerable to Brexit impact
  • Sligo is the county with the highest commercial vacancy rate at 18.9%, while Meath at 10.1% was the county with the lowest
  • 18 counties registered an increase in commercial vacancy rates compared to the same period in 2018
  • Edenderry, Co. Offaly was the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 28.8%, followed by Ballybofey, Co. Donegal (28%) and Kilrush, Co. Clare (26.5%)

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