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.