One in 8 commercial properties now vacant
The number of commercial properties across Ireland classified as vacant has registered a moderate increase of 0.5pc in the past year, according to the latest quarterly report issued by GeoDirectory.
The report, covering the three-month period to the end of June, shows that 28,615, or 13.1pc of the Republic's 219,176 commercial premises are now vacant.
A snapshot taken at the end of June last year showed that 28,343, or 12.6pc of the country's 224,168 commercial premises, were vacant then.
Asked to account for the year-on-year reduction of 4,992 in the number of premises classified as having a commercial purpose, a spokesman for GeoDirectory said there were a variety of factors involved including the amalgamation of existing premises and a reduction in the number of sole traders operating offices from their homes.
In a note to its latest report, GeoDirectory said its database had been revised and comprehensively updated to more accurately reflect the stock of commercial address points in Ireland.
This "may partially explain the significant changes in vacancy rates which have arisen".
Kerry recorded the lowest vacancy rate of any county at 9.4pc while Sligo had the highest at 16.8pc.
County Offaly recorded the largest increase in commercial vacancy rates, rising from 12.7pc in the second quarter of 2015 to 14.7pc by the end of June this year. Longford recorded the most significant percentage decrease, reducing from 13.2pc to 12.9pc in the same period.
An analysis of 79 towns across the country and 22 Dublin postcodes shows remote Ballybofey in Donegal to be the town with the country's highest vacancy rate, at 31pc. The wealthy suburb of Greystones in Co Wicklow emerged with the lowest vacancy rate of 4.5pc.
Interestingly, Dublin city centre recorded a high rate of vacancies, with figures of 18.5pc and 14.9pc being recorded in Dublin 2 and Dublin 1 respectively.
One possible explanation according to GeoDirectory, is that these vacant commercial spaces may be located on floors above retail or other office space that is currently lying empty.
Both vacancy rates contradict reports from estate agents in recent months of a shortage of office space in the city centre.
Connacht saw the highest provincial average vacancy rate at 15.2pc.
Leinster (excluding Dublin) recorded the lowest rate at 12pc, down 0.4pc since the second quarter of 2015.