GeoView Commercial Vacancy Report Q4 2018

Media Release

National commercial vacancy rate remains ‘stubbornly high’ at 13.2%

GeoDirectory publishes latest Commercial Vacancy Rates Report, analysing commercial property stock across Ireland in Q4 2018

GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report Highlights:

  • The Bi-annual GeoView report finds that the total stock of commercial properties in the State in Q4 2018 was 211,610, with 27,951 of these properties being vacant
  • The national commercial vacancy rate has fallen slightly by 0.1 percentage point (pp) to 13.2% in Q4 2018
  • Sligo recorded the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 18.9%, while Meath was the county with the lowest at 10.4%
  • Ballybofey in Donegal has the highest commercial vacancy rate (30.7%) as the North-West falls further behind the rest of Ireland
  • In the capital, Dublin 11 registered the highest vacancy rate at 16.7%
  • The counties with the highest proportions of commercial units involved in the Accommodation and Food Services sector included Kerry (23.5%), Clare (20.3%) and Donegal (19%).

13th February 2019

The national commercial vacancy rate has fallen slightly from 13.3% in Q4 2017 to 13.2% in Q4 2018 according to the latest GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report published by GeoDirectory today. Out of the total stock of 211,610 commercial properties in the State, 27,951 were vacant as of Q4 2018.
The report highlights the widening gap between the East and West coast in terms of commercial activity, showing that while the economy has improved significantly in recent years, it is mainly centred around urban areas. For example, Dublin and the surrounding counties of Meath, Kildare and Wicklow, account for 33.2% of all commercial properties in the country. In contrast, the five counties in Connacht accounted for only 13.6% of the national stock.

Counties on the West coast recorded the highest commercial vacancy rates, with Sligo (18.9%), Leitrim (16.4%), Galway (16%), Mayo (15.8%) and Roscommon (15.7%) making up the top five. Worryingly, Leitrim (+0.8 pp), Roscommon (+0.8 pp) and Mayo (+0.6 pp) also recorded the highest increases in commercial vacancies.

At the other end of the scale, Meath was the county with the lowest commercial vacancy rate at 10.4%, followed by Kerry (10.6%), Wexford (11%), Westmeath (11.1%) and Cork (11.6%). Laois experienced the biggest decline in vacancy rates, down 1.1 pp on Q4 2017. In total, 13 counties registered a decline in vacancy rates, with the remaining 13 counties recording an increase.

In the capital, the commercial vacancy rate fell by 0.2 pp to 12.2%. Out of the 22 Dublin postcode areas, 14 registered a decline in vacancy rates. Dublin 16, at 6.5%, was the area with the lowest vacancy rate, while Dublin 11 recorded the highest at 16.7%. Dublin 20 saw the highest increase in vacancy rates compared to Q4 2017, climbing by 2.4 pp, with Dublin 17 experiencing the largest decrease (2.0).

Ballybofey in Donegal remains the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in Ireland, rising by 2 pp to 30.7% in Q4 2018. In contrast, Greystones in Wicklow recorded a vacancy rate of 6.1%, the lowest in the country.

Overview of the 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 Q4 2018 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.

The report shows that there was a total of 22,996 units in this sector in Q4 2018, representing 13.7% of the overall total of commercial stock with a NACE code.

Kerry (23.5%), Clare (20.3%), Donegal (19%), Leitrim (18.2%) and Mayo (17.8%) were the counties with the highest percentage of Accommodation and Food Services units relative to the overall commercial stock in the county. This demonstrates the importance of tourism to the West coast, particularly given the high commercial vacancy rates typical to the region.

The report shows that there are 348 fewer Retail and Wholesale units in the country compared to the same time last year, which may be an indication of the growing consumer preference for online shopping.
Speaking about the GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report for Q4 2018, Dara Keogh, CEO of GeoDirectory said: “Even though the commercial vacancy rate dropped slightly in the past year, the report shows a continuing east-west divide in terms of commercial activity in Ireland. The Greater Dublin Area is dominating the rest of the country, with a third of all commercial units in the country located in just four counties. The importance of tourism to the west coast is also evident, with the highest proportion of Accommodation and Food Service units located in this region. Depending on the outcome of Brexit, the economy of this region may be vulnerable to fluctuating currency exchange rates and potentially fewer visitors from the UK.”

Annette Hughes, Director, EY-DKM Economic Advisory added, “Our data highlights that the gap between those counties with higher provincial vacancy rates and those with the lowest, is widening. This is demonstrated when we analyse the data for Leinster, which had the lowest vacancy rate, and Connacht, which had the highest vacancy rate and see that the gap between the two provinces has grown by 0.4 percentage points. This analysis shows us that improvements in commercial activity continue to be concentrated on the east coast of Ireland. A rebalancing of this activity requires Government to urgently progress the delivery of Project 2040.”



For Further Information:

Killian Keys, Wilson Hartnell, 086-1024302 / 01-6690030,
Dara Keogh, CEO, GeoDirectory and Annette Hughes, Director, EY-DKM Economic Advisory are available for interview.
The GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report is produced by EY-DKM Economic Advisory on behalf of GeoDirectory.

*NACE Rev. 2 is the statistical classification of economic activities; an acronym for General Industrial Classification of Economic Activities within the European Communities.
GeoDirectory was jointly established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) to create and manage Ireland’s only complete database of commercial and residential buildings.  The figures are recorded through a combination of the An Post network of 5,600 delivery staff working with OSi. 
The GeoDirectory database is used by many different companies and organisations across a diverse range of applications. Its database and services are used by Central Statistics Office to achieve more accurate census results, Gas Networks Ireland has used for GeoDirectory to identify and categorise new potential customers and 11890 Directory Inquiries have used GeoDirectory to provide detailed directions and maps to their customers.

In the property sector, GeoDirectory is used by and the Property Registration Authority. In addition, utility companies, banking and insurance providers, and all local authorities use the database.
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Past GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Reports are available to view at: