28,500 retail units vacant in Ireland

The number of commercial units lying vacant across the country increased to just shy of 28,500 at the tail-end of 2014 despite the quickening pace of economic recovery.

The commercial vacancy rate increased to 12.8% in the last quarter of 2014 — up from 12.4% at the same stage in 2013 — with more than 900 fewer premises occupied as a result.

The deterioration in the market was spread across the country with the number of vacant properties increasing in all four provinces annually, the latest GeoDirectory survey shows.

The highest increase in commercial vacancy over the 12-month period was in Connacht, where there was a rise of 0.8 percentage points (pp) to 14.7%.

Munster also saw a deterioration throughout 2014, with 12.1% of properties vacant at the turn of the year compared to 11.7% a year previous. The province did boast the county with the lowest vacancy rate too, however, with Kerry’s 9.1% bettering all others.

Cork fared reasonably well at 11.6% — the eighth best rate nationwide and the second best of any county in which a city is located. Other counties with large urban centres populated the upper tier of vacancies, with Galway (15.2%), Limerick (15%), Dublin (13.8%), and Waterford (13.4%), all within the 10 worst counties. Limerick experienced a particularly bad year, with rates climbing 1.2pp from 13.8% at the end of 2013. Cavan (11%), Meath (10.3%), Westmeath (10.1%), Wexford (9.9%), and Kerry (9.1%) represented the least number of unused commercial properties.

Ulster had the second highest yearly increase with a jump of 0.5pp recorded; the vacancy rate was 12.5% at the end of the year. Leinster also saw an annual rise of 0.2pp in 2014 but the rate of vacancies slowed in the second half of the year.

At more than 49,100, or 22%, Dublin had the largest number of unique commercial addresses followed by Cork (11.6% or 25,882) and Galway (5.7% or 12,817). Leitrim, Longford, and Carlow had the lowest number of commercial address points with fewer than 3,000 units in each county, as was the case throughout 2013 and 2014.

The data was published by GeoDirectory, which was jointly established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland to create and manage Ireland’s only complete database of commercial and residential buildings.


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