Commercial vacancy rate in Co. Wexford has increased to 10.5%

New figures show town centres need help as the number of vacant commercial properties stands at its highest rate since records began.

GeoDirectory’s new report has found the commercial vacancy rate in Co. Wexford increased to 10.5% in December 2023, lower than the national average of 14.3%. New Ross had the highest rate in at 23.4%, while Gorey had the lowest at 8.6%.

At a national  level, the average commercial vacancy rate increased by 0.3 percentage points (ppt) to 14.3% in the year to Q4 2023. This is the highest level of commercial vacancy recorded by GeoDirectory since it began tracking data in 2013. In total, there were 30,046 empty commercial units across the country, with the commercial vacancy rate increasing in 20 out of 26 counties. The lowest commercial vacancy rates were recorded in Meath (10.1%), Wexford (10.5%) and Cork (12.2%)

Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford was the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country in Q4 2023, at 30.2%. Shannon, Co. Clare (29.8%), Ballybofey Co. Donegal (29.4%), Boyle, Co. Roscommon (27.6%), and Sligo Town (26.2%) completed the top five towns by highest commercial vacancy rate. Greystones, Co. Wicklow and Carrigaline, Co. Cork were the towns with the lowest commercial vacancy rate in the country, at 5.6% and 7.2% respectively.

Action plans transforming one town centre in every county are set to be unveiled by the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphries tomorrow.

Commenting on the findings of the GeoDirectory Commercial Buildings Report, Dara Keogh, CEO of GeoDirectory, said, “The rate of commercial vacancies in Ireland has hit a new high of 14.3%, continuing the trend of increasing rates in recent years. This trend can be attributed to a number of factors such as the rising cost of doing business, changing consumer habits and hybrid working. Consideration must now be given to how some of these vacant properties can be repurposed and reused, in order to avoid long-term vacancy and potential dereliction of these buildings.”

Annette Hughes, Director at EY Economic Advisory, said, “The latest Commercial Buildings Report finds that vacancy rates have continued to increase, with 20 out of 26 counties recording an increase in commercial vacancy in Q4 2023. Businesses have been impacted by a series of factors over recent years which have led to challenging trading conditions for many and so this increase is not unexpected. On a more positive note, the continued easing of inflation, ongoing reductions in energy prices and the anticipated cuts in interest rates should hopefully provide some relief for businesses this year. Longer term, strategic policy measures such as the forthcoming revision of the National Planning Framework offer an opportunity to influence future growth patterns, incentivising population and development into areas with particularly high vacancy rates.”

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