Commercial vacancy rate hits highest level in 9 years
The commercial vacancy rate across the country reached 13.9% in the final quarter of last year, the highest level recorded by GeoDirectory in nine years of reporting.
There were 29,317 commercial units vacant across the country, according to the report which was prepared by EY.
The data reveals that commercial vacancies increased in 15 out of 26 counties.
“This increase in commercial vacancies is not reflected in terms of numbers in employment, which according to the CSO increased steadily in 2021,” said Dara Keogh, Chief Executive of GeoDirectory.
“This may suggest that Covid-19 has accelerated businesses to pivot towards enhancing their online presence and scaling-back their physical offering on main streets,” he added.
At 20%, Sligo was the county with the highest commercial vacancy rate, followed by Leitrim and Roscommon, both at just over 17%.
Meath had the lowest vacancy rate at 10.2%, followed by Wicklow at 10.4% and Kerry at 11.3%.
In Dublin, the commercial vacancy rate increased by 1%, reaching a rate of 12.9%
The report examined the commercial vacancy rates among a sample of 80 towns located across the state.
Ballybofey in Co Donegal was the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate at 30%.
Gorey in Co Wexford was the town with the lowest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 7.8%, followed by Greystones in Co Wicklow.
Annette Hughes, Director of EY Economic Advisory said their report in January revealed that over 90,000 residential units across the country are vacant.
She said when commercial and residential units are combined, the data suggests that there are almost 120,000 vacant buildings across the country.
“A good proportion of these could potentially be returned to commercial, community or residential uses on the streets of towns and cities across the country,” she said.
Meanwhile, analysis of a nationwide sample of 68 shopping centres with over 3,000 commercial units found that there was an 11.2% increase in the number of vacant units between 2016 and 2021.