Commercial Vacancy Report Q4 2017

67.8% of Vacant Commercial Properties have been vacant for over three years


  • 67.8% of the 28,091 vacant commercial addresses have been vacant for three years or longer
  • There were 211,958 commercial addresses recorded in the GeoDirectory database in Q4 2017
  • The national commercial vacancy rate has fallen from 13.5% in Q4 2016 to 13.3% in Q4 2017
  • Fourteen counties recorded an increase in commercial vacancy rates
  • Sligo had the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 18.7%, while Kerry recorded the lowest vacancy rate at 10.5%
  • Ballybofey, Co. Donegal, at 28.8% is the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country
  • Dublin 8 at 16.7% had the highest commercial vacancy rate in the capital

February 12th 2018:

The national commercial vacancy rate in Ireland dropped slightly from 13.5% in Q4 2016 to 13.3% in Q4 2017. This is according to the latest GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report, published by GeoDirectory and EY-DKM Economic Advisory today. The research reveals that 28,091 of the 211,958 commercial address points in Ireland were vacant, with 67.8% of vacant addresses empty for over three years.

Commercial activity remains concentrated on the East coast of Ireland, with the Greater Dublin Area accounting for 33.2% of the overall national stock. This is in stark contrast to Connacht and Ulster, with these provinces only accounting for 13.7% and 7.8% of the national stock respectively.

In Dublin, the commercial vacancy rate fell to 12.4%, a drop of 1.3pp compared to last year, with 16 of the 22 postal districts recording a vacancy rate below the national average of 13.3%. Dublin 2, experienced a drop of 6.4pp, the most significant reduction in the city. Dublin 8, at 16.7%, has the highest commercial vacancy rate of all the Dublin postal districts.

Outside of the capital, there is evidence that the economic recovery is beginning to spread, albeit slowly, beyond the Greater Dublin Area. Modest reductions were recorded in Leitrim (-0.8pp), Donegal (-0.5pp), Limerick (-0.3pp), Waterford (-0.3pp) and Mayo (-0.3pp).

Despite evidence of progress, the report highlights a continued imbalance between Dublin and the rest of the country as commercial vacancy rates remain stubbornly high outside the capital. In total, GeoDirectory data shows that 15 counties registered vacancy rates higher than the national average in Q4 2017, unchanged from twelve months ago. Sligo, at 18.7%, was the county with the highest vacancy rate, followed by Galway (16.2%), Leitrim (15.6%) Mayo (15.3%) and Longford (15.1%). At the other end of the scale, Kerry (10.5%), Meath (10.7%) and Wexford (10.8%) recorded the lowest vacancy rates.

At a provincial level, Leinster, excluding Dublin, (12.6%) and Munster (13.0%) had a vacancy rate below the national average of 13.3%. While Ulster (14.0%) and Connacht (16.1%) were higher. 

According to GeoDirectory data, 19,038 commercial units in Ireland have been vacant for three or more years. This represents 67.8% of the overall national commercial vacant stock of 28,091. Monaghan, at 78.5%, had the highest proportion of long-term commercial vacancies in the State, followed by Laois (76.5%), Limerick (76.0%) and Clare (75.6%). At the other end of the spectrum, Galway (60.5%), Dublin (61.5%) and Westmeath (62.2%) recorded the lowest rates.

In the capital, Dublin 20 at 19.2%, was the Dublin postal district with the lowest long-term vacancy rate. While Dublin 13 recorded the highest rate at 78.2%.

GeoDirectory has conducted an analysis of the commercial vacancy rates in 102 locations, including 80 towns across the four provinces, plus 22 Dublin postal districts. Ballybofey in Co. Donegal at 28.8%, remains the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country. Despite experiencing a drop of 3.7pp in the same period last year, Edenderry in Co. Offaly recorded the second highest vacancy rate (27.3%), followed by Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford (26.7%), Kilrush, Co. Clare (24.7%) and Ballina, Co. Mayo (23.8%) .Of the 80 towns analysed, Greystones, Co. Wicklow (5.7%), Maynooth, Co. Kildare (7.4%) and Gorey, Co. Wexford (8.5%) posted the lowest commercial vacancy rates in the country.

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. In total, 164,862 commercial address points were allocated a NACE code. Of this total, 47.6% were classified under Services, making it the largest sector of commercial activity. This is followed by Distribution at 24.2% and Health at 9.1%.

Commenting on the findings of the latest GeoView Commerical Vacancy Rates Report, Dara Keogh, CEO of GeoDirectory said: “This report shows that, while there are signs that the economic recovery is beginning to spread outside Dublin, there is still a stubbornly high commercial vacancy rate, particularly along the west coast of Ireland. Given that there is also a high proportion of long term vacant commercial buildings, there is significant scope to redevelop and put these properties to better use, particularly as discussion around the National Planning Framework continues.”

Annette Hughes, Director of EY-DKM Economic Consultants said: “On a national level, the commercial vacancy has dropped from 13.5% at this time last year, to 13.3%. Of the twelve counties to record a fall in vacancy rates, six were located in Leinster. Excluding Dublin, Leinster had the lowest overall provincial vacancy rate at 12.6%. In contrast, Connacht at 16.1%, had the highest vacancy rate, which was considerably higher than the national average.”

A copy of the GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report is attached in PDF format here, and is available at


For Further Information:

Killian Keys, Wilson Hartnell, 086-1024302 / 01-6690030,

Dara Keogh, CEO, GeoDirectory and Annette Hughes, Director of EY-DKM Economic Advisory are available for interview.

*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 the GeoDirectory database to identify and categorise new potential customers. 11890 Directory Inquiries have used GeoDirectory to provide detailed directions and maps to their customers.

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