Tuesday 12 December 2017

Number of new buildings on rise – but commercial units drop by 25pc

Donal Buckley

As many as 12,541 new commercial and residential buildings were recorded across the country in 2012 – a 2pc increase on the previous year.

According to the GeoDirectory database, the new buildings in 2012 consisted of 10,919 residential buildings, 1,245 commercial buildings and 377 dual-purpose buildings with both residential and commercial components.

Increases in the numbers were recorded in 14 counties: Clare; Cork; Galway; Kerry; Kildare; Kilkenny; Leitrim; Louth; Meath; Monaghan; Offaly; Sligo; Tipperary; and Wexford.

However, there was a 25pc decrease in new commercial buildings, with 1,245 recorded in 2012 compared to the 2011 figure of 1,661.

Over the past five years there has been a consistent downward trend in the number of new commercial buildings from a peak of 4,458 in 2007.

The overall level of new buildings in 2012 reflects an 87pc drop on the total of 96,000 new buildings identified at the peak of the building boom in 2007.

Last year the strongest percentage increase was in Galway, where 626 new buildings were identified – a 39pc increase.

On the other hand, Cork city and county recorded the largest number of new buildings: 1,373 residential, 130 commercial and 40 dual-purpose buildings were completed during the year.

In contrast, Clare recorded the lowest number of new additions with just two buildings identified.

While Waterford recorded the largest year-on-year decrease, of 42pc, as many as 253 residential, 21 commercial and 15 dual-purpose new properties were still completed in 2012. That compared to 353, 105 and 12 respectively in 2011.

Nationwide, new buildings also have relatively high occupancy levels as only 12pc of them, or 1,558, are vacant.

This contrasts with a 20pc plus vacancy level for some sectors of Dublin's suburban commercial property market – although the two are not directly comparable as there are no figures available for the floor areas of the new buildings.


A further 1,720 buildings across the country were under construction at year-end.

Commenting on the figures, Dara Keogh, CEO of GeoDirectory, said: "The end-of-year figures for 2012 highlight a small increase in building activity. The figures for 2012 and 2011 indicate a bottoming out of the downward curve and a levelling off of the decrease in building activity."

GeoDirectory 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 figures are recorded through a combination of the An Post network of 5,600 delivery staff working with OSI.

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