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Number of empty business properties continues to rise

COMMERCIAL property vacancies rose marginally between July and September as the retail sector continued to struggle.

According to the latest report on the sector by GeoView and DKM Economic Consultants, some 12.3pc of business premises were vacant across the country, compared to 11.9pc at the end of June.

The increase will be a surprise to some given the much publicised shortage of suitable office space in the country, but that only shows half the picture.

The increase was driven overwhelmingly by a jump in vacancies in the services and retail industries. Nearly three-quarters of the vacant buildings were in services, retail, and distribution, according to the report.

The financial and public sectors have the lowest levels of vacancies at a combined 4.1pc.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, rural areas see a disproportionate number of vacant commercial buildings. The town of Ballybofey in Co Donegal has a vacancy rate of 28.2pc. In contrast, just 3.5pc of premises in Greystones, Co Wicklow, are without a tenant.

GeoView boss Dara Keogh said the report provided a "significant insight" into the state of the sector.

DKM director Annette Hughes, meanwhile, said the report was likely to influence where future construction takes place.

The report classifies as vacant 27,405 of the 223,359 commercial addresses across the country. Just over a fifth of those are in Dublin, while 11pc of premises are based in Cork.

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