Offaly town has more empty businesses than anywhere else in the country

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Offaly town has more empty businesses than anywhere else in the country

Offaly town has more empty businesses than anywhere else in the country

Edenderry has the highest number of empty business premises in the entire country, new research has found.

Offaly’s commercial vacancy rate increased by 0.3 percentage points (pp) to 15.5% in the second quarter of 2019 according to the latest GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report published by GeoDirectory today.

More worrying is Edenderry's commercial vacancy rate of 28.8%, the highest in the country, and almost double that of Birr (15.8%).

Edenderry's rate is an increase of 3.1% on the same time last year. Ballybofey, Co. Donegal (28%) and Kilrush, Co. Clare (26.5%) also posted high vacancy rates. Greystones in Co. Wicklow posted the lowest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 5.8%.

The report, prepared by EY-DKM Economic Advisory Services founded that the national commercial vacancy rate has risen to 13.3% in Q2 2019, an increase of 0.2 percentage points (pp) on Q2 2018.

The east-west divide in terms of commercial activity shows no sign of slowing down, with the highest commercial vacancy rates occurring in Connacht. Sligo is the county with the highest vacancy rate at 18.9%, followed by Leitrim (16.7%), Roscommon (16.3%), Mayo (16.3%) and Galway (16.2%). Meath was the county with the lowest vacancy rate at 10.1%, followed by Kerry (10.6%) Wexford (10.9%) and Westmeath (11.6%).

Worryingly, 18 counties recorded an increase in vacancy rates in Q2 2019, while 15 counties had higher rates than the national average of 13.3%. The largest percentage point increase in commercial vacancies occurred in Leitrim and Roscommon, rising by 1.1pp and 0.9pp respectively. Laois recorded the highest decrease, with the vacancy rate falling by 0.9pp.

In the capital, the average commercial vacancy rate was 12.1%, unchanged from the same period in 2018. However, vacancy rates fluctuate considerably depending on Dublin postcode. The area with the lowest vacancy rate in the county was Dublin 16 at 6.9%, while Dublin 8 recorded the highest vacancy rate in the capital at 15.4%, well above the national average.

Unsurprisingly, Dublin leads the way in total commercial address points, accounting for 23.6% of the national total. When the remaining counties in Leinster are included, the province contains 49.5% of the national commercial stock.

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 Q2 2019 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.

Through the analysis of NACE codes, the report finds that 11.6% of commercial properties in Offaly are involved in the accommodation and food services sector.

The west coast of Ireland is heavily reliant on the Accommodation and Food services sector. 23.8% of commercial units in Kerry are classified as being involved in the Accommodation and Food services sector, the highest in the country. West coast counties Clare (20.5%), Donegal (19.2%), Leitrim (18.2%) and Mayo (17.6%) all recorded high concentrations of commercial units in this sector.

Commenting on the report, Dara Keogh, CEO, GeoDirectory, said, “The latest GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report shows that the east-west divide in commercial activity is widening and not closing. The five Connacht counties recorded vacancy rates considerably higher than the national average, with increases in every county except Galway. 18 counties in Ireland recorded an increase in commercial vacancy rates, as economic activity is increasingly centred around the Greater Dublin Area.”

Annette Hughes, Director, EY-DKM Economic Advisory said, “Our analysis shows that almost 50% of all commercial units in the country are located in Leinster, with just over 20% located in the provinces of Connacht and Ulster combined. This is worrying, considering that most of these counties have also recorded higher than average commercial vacancy rates. With a high proportion of counties on the west coast relying on the accommodation and food services sector, commercial activity in these counties could be vulnerable to the impact of Brexit, particularly as a result of currency volatility and reduced tourism.”