Longford remains mid-table in an assessment of commercial vacancy rates in the country with 14.4% of the commercial property stock in the county unoccupied.
Edgeworthstown has the second highest vacancy rate of any population centre in the country with 26.3% of the towns commercial properties unfilled. Longford is one of the few counties to experience a decrease in local vacancy rates, having reduced the overall vacancy rates from last year by 1.2%. This level of occupancy is the largest decrease in the country.
The GeoDirectory Commercial Buildings Report for Q2 of 2022 shows the total stock of commercial properties in Ireland stood at 210,924 in Q2 2022. A modest decline in the overall commercial building stock was accompanied by an increase in the stock of vacant properties.
This led to an increase in the commercial vacancy rate to 13.9% over the twelve months, although it remained unchanged from the vacancy rate reported in Q4 2021, which itself had risen from pre-pandemic levels of 13.3%. Connacht was the province with the highest vacancy rate at 17.3%, Sligo had the highest county vacancy rate at 19.4% and the town of Ballybofey in County Donegal had the highest town vacancy rate at 30.2%.
Vacancy rates in Ireland are the highest they have been since this commercial vacancy report commenced in 2013. The current national vacancy rate of 13.9%, unchanged since Q4 2021, can be attributed to a number of factors which are creating a challenging environment for all businesses.
The difficult period for many businesses during Covid combined with the heightened energy and other input costs, as a result of the escalation in inflation over recent months and the Russian war in Ukraine, have further exacerbated the economic challenges for businesses.
Separately, the tight labour market and wage inflation as well as increased wage expectations are creating further pressure points, while a sustained and gradual rise in interest rates over the coming months to dampen inflation is likely to further impact the cost of doing business and investment.
The forthcoming budget for 2023 is eagerly awaited by businesses to see to what extent any reform of the tax system and/or other measures are introduced to assist with the higher cost of doing business and to support the delivery of environmental targets.
A total of 16 counties had a vacancy rate equal to or greater than the national average of 13.9%. The analysis of vacancy rates continues to show a prominent east-west divide with counties along the western seaboard recording the highest rates.
Sligo retained the number one position as the county with the highest vacancy rate. Galway and Donegal replaced Roscommon and Leitrim as the counties with the second and third highest vacancy rates, each registering the same rate of 17.2%. Meath (9.9%), Wexford (10.6%) and Kerry (11.7%) had the lowest vacancy rates in Ireland in Q2 2022. This was consistent with Q2 2021 and Q2 2020.
The vacancy rates in Leinster excluding Dublin was 12.8%, a full 1.1pp lower than the national average of 13.9%. Offaly continued to have the highest vacancy rate in the province at 16.1%, an increase of 0.7pp from Q2 2021, while Meath had the lowest vacancy rate at 9.9%, a decline of 0.3pp from Q1 2021. Greystones, Co Wicklow, had the lowest vacancy rate amongst the towns in the province at 7.7%, albeit an increase of 0.1pp, while Edgeworthstown Co Longford, had the highest vacancy rate at 26.3%.
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