Friday 22 September 2017

Lights go out in over 2,000 business premises nationwide so far this year

Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

ALMOST 2,000 offices, shops and various business premises have been shut down across Ireland since the start of this year – according to a comparison of the vacancy rate snapshots issued through the year by the An Post service Geocities.

At the beginning of the year there were 25,432 unoccupied commercial buildings and units and by Autumn this had increased to 27,405.

The capital saw the lights go out in almost 500 business buildings and suites in 2013 so far, moving from a vacancy level of 13 per cent in January, to 13.5 per cent by mid year and to 14 per cent by August. With a fixed tally of 48,972 business premises registered across the Dublin City and County area, a comparison with Q1 and Q3 figures from Geocities in association with DKM Economic Consultants suggests that 490 units have already been vacated in 2013 and that this number will exceed 500 by year's end.

A quarter of all empty business buildings nationwide are now to be found in Dublin and exactly 14 per cent of the capital's units lie empty overall – double the accepted level in a normal functioning market.

Despite claims that there has been a slight uplift in the economy, the picture dictated by the comparison of the three Geocities snapshots for 2013 suggests otherwise – that Ireland's firms are still closing down business premises countrywide on a steadily increasing basis.

In fact Cork rather than Dublin is emptying commercial premises at the fastest rate of all with 1.5 per cent of its units seeing the lights going off so far in 2013 – roughly equivalent to almost 400 shops, offices and warehouses across the city and county area.

The figure gives Cork the highest shutdown rate in the country by percentage.

It was followed by Galway which saw 1.1 per cent of its commercial premises becoming vacant across the county and city area since January (around 140 closed premises).

Other counties which have been seeing vacancies rise at a rapid rate are Kilkenny, and Donegal which have had one per cent of their premises emptying since the beginning of the year.

The counties with the highest vacancy levels overall are Sligo, where 15.3 per cent of business buildings are now empty; Leitrim where the total is 14.8 per cent; Galway at 14.1 per cent; Dublin with 14 per cent; and Limerick which has a 13.7 per cent rate.

Kerry county was the only county to register a zero increase in vacancy numbers since the start of this year and its overall empty commercial building rate stands at nine per cent, also the lowest nationwide.

However, it is still two per cent above the accepted rate of vacancy in a normal economy.

The Q3 snapshot published last month has suggested that the town of Ballybofey in Donegal is Ireland's "most empty" with 28.2 per cent of its business units now out of use while the lowest rate for any town in Ireland came from the opulent seaside haven of Greystones in Co Wicklow which showed just 3.5 per cent vacancy.

Overall, there are 223,359 business address points on the national database.

The lowest numbers are to be found in Leitrim, Longford and Carlow with less than 3,000 units in each county.

Sunday Independent

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