Fewer premises are vacant since last year

The National Commercial Vacancy Report for Q2 2018, carried out by GeoDirectory, claims that commercial vacancy rates nationally have fallen to 13.1%. This is a drop of 0.4% from the same period last year.

Fewer premises are vacant since last year

By Diarmaid Condon

The National Commercial Vacancy Report for Q2 2018, carried out by GeoDirectory, claims that commercial vacancy rates nationally have fallen to 13.1%. This is a drop of 0.4% from the same period last year.

A total of 14 counties recorded a decline in commercial vacancy rates, compared to only two counties at the same period in 2017. Unsurprisingly, most of these are located in Leinster, as a recovery in commercial transactions, and consequently premises uptake, gradually spreads out from the capital. Commercial vacancy in Dublin has dropped 1.6% over the past twelve months, while Roscommon saw the largest increase in vacancy, up by 1.1%.

Meath and Kerry, at 10.4%, are the counties with the lowest commercial vacancy rates in the country with Sligo propping up the other end of the table at 18.8%.

Ballybofey in Co Donegal, remains the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country, with almost a third of the available business premises and offices in the town still vacant.

While the report suggests a spread of economic activity out from Dublin, it should be noted that there is a clear divide between the east and west of the country.

There is also, unsurprisingly, a distinct difference in vacancy rates between urban and rural areas. Leinster’s commercial vacancy rate, excluding Dublin, is now at 12.3%, while Connacht is at 16.3% and all five Connacht counties have vacancy rates higher than the national average.

Connacht, on average, has vacancy rates 4% higher than Leinster. In contrast, 16 of Dublin’s 22 districts recorded vacancy rates lower than the national average. Munster’s vacancy rate now stands at 12.8%, down 0.3% from this time last year, with Ulster’s at 13.9%.

Kilrush and Shannon Co Clare had the highest vacancy rate in Munster at 26.6% and 25% respectively. Newcastle West in Limerick is next at 22.3%, followed by Youghal in Cork at 20% and Clonmel, Co. Tipperary at 18.1%.

Carrigaline in Co Cork has the lowest vacancy rate in the province at 9.5%, although this was 1.2% higher than this time last year.

The industrial sector accounted for 5.3% of occupied commercial units in Munster, marginally below the national average of 5.4%.

At 6.8% vacancy, the report noted that Shannon has a high share of vacant industrial stock mainly in the manufacturing sector. Limerick has the highest overall vacancy rate of the Munster counties at 15.1% followed by Clare at 14.9%, Waterford at 14.3%, Tipperary 14%, Cork 11.5% and Kerry has the highest level of occupation with a vacancy rate of 10.4%.

Only Kerry and Cork’s vacancy rates are under the national average.

Ballybofey in Co Donegal is the town with the country’s highest vacancy rate at 28.8%, followed by Kilrush, then Longford’s Edgeworthstown at 26% vacancy, with Edenderry, Co. Offaly on 25.7% followed by Shannon.

Greystones in Co. Wicklow at 5.7%, Maynooth in Co. Kildare at 7.5% and Gorey in Co Wexford at 9.1% were the towns with the lowest commercial vacancy rates in the country.

The survey says that the services sector is the dominant occupier accounting for 47.6% of the overall occupied stock, followed by retail and wholesale at 24.2% and health at 9.1%.

Dara Keogh, CEO of GeoDirectory, says that while economic activity is growing, it is still centred around Dublin, with Connacht, Ulster and the Midlands lagging behind significantly.

A copy of the report can be found at www.geodirectory.ie.

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