Commercial vacancy rates across the State have decreased marginally, according to new research published today.
The total number of occupied commercial premises in Ireland increased throughout 2015 from 194,642 in the last quarter of 2014 to 195,803 in the last quarter of 2015.
It represents a decrease of 0.2 per cent from 12.8 per cent to 12.6 per cent.
The research is from the Q4 2015 edition of GeoView which is published twice a year. It is the third annual review of commercial vacancy rates in the State.
There were 16 counties that recorded a decrease in commercial vacancy rates between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the fourth quarter of 2015.
Kerry recorded the lowest commercial vacancy rate of any county at 9.2 per cent, while Sligo recorded the highest at 16.4 per cent. Both counties held the same rankings in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The review said a number of counties in Connaught and Ulster have yet to recover and are still showing increases in vacancy rates.
The average commercial vacancy rate in Ulster increased from 12.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2014 to 12.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2015, while the vacancy rate in Connacht went from 14.7 per cent to 14.8 per cent over the same period.
Both Munster (11.9 per cent) and Leinster (12.4 per cent) saw a decrease of 0.2 percentage points each. Leinster’s commercial vacancy rate was unchanged with just two counties, Wexford (10.1 per cent) and Wicklow (12.5 per cent), recording increases over the year.
The data was published by GeoDirectory which 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 largest percentage point increase was seen in Leitrim where the vacancy rate increased by 0.6 per cent to 16.1 per cent. Conversely, the largest decrease was seen in Carlow where the vacancy rate fell by 1.2 per cent to 11.9 per cent.
At 49,809, Dublin had the largest number of unique commercial address points followed by Cork (25,627) and Galway (12,877).
In 2015, Leitrim, Longford and Carlow had the lowest number of commercial address points with less than 3,000 units in each county, as was the case throughout 2013 and 2014.
GeoDirectory chief executive Dara Keogh said the trends throughout 2013 and 2014 "seem to have shifted".
“Where in the past we saw vacancy rates increasing at varying rates, we are now seeing falling vacancy rates in many parts of the country,” he said.
“Connacht and Ulster still seem to be struggling, however there are strong signs of a recovery with just 8 counties across the country showing an increase in commercial vacancy rates year on year.”