GeoDirectory: 'Increases in commercial vacancy rates recorded in all four provinces in Q4 2019'
10-year trends show changing face of Irish commercial property sector
GeoView Commercial Property Report Q4 2019 Highlights:
- National commercial vacancy rate remains high at 13.3% in Q4 2019, up 0.1 percentage point (pp) on the Q4 2018 rate
- Commercial vacancy rates rose in 16 counties while only six counties recorded a decline
- Almost one quarter of all commercial address points in the country are located in Dublin (23.5%)
- Sligo at 18.9% is the county with the highest commercial vacancy rate, while Meath recorded the lowest rate (10.1%)
- 10-year trends highlight the changing uses of commercial property – a 167% increase in the number of gyms, a 58% increase in the number of cafés, and only a 3.1% increase in the number of bars
Commercial Vacancy Rates
The commercial vacancy rate increased in all four provinces in 2019 according to the latest GeoView Commercial Property Report, released by GeoDirectory and EY-DKM Economic Advisory Services today. The national commercial vacancy rate stood at 13.3% in Q4 2019, 0.1pp higher than the same period in Q4 2018.
In total, 16 counties recorded increases in their commercial vacancy rates, with decreases occurring in only 6 counties. Sligo, at 18.9%, was the county with the highest commercial vacancy rate. The five counties with the highest vacancy rates were all located in Connacht, a sign of the prominent east-west divide in terms of commercial activity.
At 10.1%, Meath recorded the lowest commercial vacancy rate in the country, followed by Kerry (10.7%), Wexford (10.9%), Westmeath (11.6%) and Cork (11.7%). The commercial vacancy rate in Dublin was 12%, 1.3pp lower than the national average.
Almost a quarter (23.5%) of all commercial properties in Ireland are located in Dublin, equating to almost 50,000 commercial address points. The three Ulster counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan accounted for only 7.8% of the national total, while Munster and Connacht had 28.9% and 13.7% of the national total respectively.
Edenderry in Co. Offaly was the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country, at 29.1%. Ballybofey in Co. Donegal dropped to second place in the list after registering a 3pp drop in its commercial vacancy rate in Q4 2019 (27.7%).
Dublin 8 had a commercial vacancy rate of 15.3% in Q4 2019, the highest in the capital, while Dublin 16, at 6.6% recorded the lowest rate. Greystones in Co. Wicklow once again registered the lowest commercial vacancy rate in the country, at 7.6%, albeit up 1.4pp on the corresponding rate in Q4 2018.
Ten Year Commercial Property Trends
The GeoView Commercial Property Report also highlights the developing trends in commercial property usage over the past decade. Through the analysis of urban areas in the Greater Dublin Area, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Kilkenny and Limerick, the GeoDirectory data shows the changing uses of the Irish commercial property sector.
Thanks to an increased focus on health and fitness, there has been a significant rise in the number of gyms in urban areas over the past decade. From a total of just 311 gyms in 2010, the figure stood at 831 in 2019, representing a 167% increase.
In the last ten years there has been a 58% increase in the number of cafés in main urban areas, while there has only been a 3.1% increase in the number of bars in the same areas over the same period of time.
The number of commercial properties offering beauty/men’s grooming services has also increased notably, rising by 22% over the last ten years.
Commenting on the GeoView Commercial Property Report, Dara Keogh, CEO GeoDirectory said, “GeoDirectory’s recent commercial property reports have shown that there is a deepening divide between the east and west of the country in terms of economic activity, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down. The report also provides a fascinating insight into the changing nature of commercial property usage. For example, the cultural trend of health and wellness has seen a 167% increase in the number of gyms in the country over the past ten years, while the number of café’s in main urban centres has increased by over 50%.”
Annette Hughes, Director, EY-DKM Economic Advisory said, “The persistently high national commercial vacancy rate, 13.3% in this latest GeoView report, is difficult to reconcile with the strong economic recovery experienced over the past six years. With 16 counties recording increases in vacancy rates, this is a cause for concern. One reason for this could be that the economic recovery has not fully expanded to all areas of Ireland. With almost one quarter of all commercial address points in Ireland located in Dublin and one-third in the Greater Dublin Area, the figure increases to 50% when Cork and Galway are included. This suggests that economic activity is concentrated in a small number of counties. Similarly, the ever-increasing level of internet shopping may also be contributing to the high commercial vacancy rates in many towns across the country.”
The GeoDirectory database is the most comprehensive address database of commercial and residential properties in the Republic of Ireland. A copy of the GeoView Residential Buildings Report is attached in PDF format and is available at www.geodirectory.ie