Vacancy rates for commercial properties outside of Dublin remain “stubbornly high” with a significant portion of the vacant properties unused for over three years.
The GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates report, published by a body backed by An Post and Ordnance Survey, found the national commercial vacancy rate dipped only slightly from 13.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 13.3 per cent in the same period last year.
Of the almost 212,000 commercial address in Ireland, more than 28,000 were vacant with 67.8 per cent of those empty for more than three years.
As expected, the greater Dublin area accounts for 33.2 per cent of the overall national stock while the entire providence of Connacht accounts for 13.7 per cent and Ulster for 7.8 per cent.
The GeoView report highlights a continued imbalance between Dublin and the rest of the country with 15 counties registering higher vacancy rates than the national average in the last quarter of 2017. Sligo, at 18.7 per cent, had the highest vacancy rate, followed by Galway, at 16.2 per cent, Leitrim, with 15.6 per cent, Mayo with 15.3 per cent and Longford with 15.1 per cent of commercial properties vacant.
The lowest vacancy rates in the country were recorded in Kerry, Meath and Wexford ranging from 10.5 per cent to 10.8 per cent.
Across Ireland, GeoView notes that 19,038 commercial units have been vacant for three years or more. The highest proportion of long term commercial vacancies in the State are in Monaghan, at 78.5 per cent, followed by Laois, Limerick and Clare. The lowest long term vacancy rates are in Galway, Dublin and Westmeath, all ranging between 60.5 per cent and 62.2 per cent.
Additionally, the report analysed rates in 102 locations across the four provinces including 80 towns and found that Ballybofey, Co Donegal, had the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 28.8 per cent, followed by Edenderry, Edgeworthstown and Kilrush. Meanwhile, Greystones, Maynooth and Gorey posted the lowest commercial vacancy rates in the country.
"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," said Dara Keogh, GeoDirectory chief executive.
“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,” he added.