Donegal has third highest commercial vacancy rate in country

The commercial vacancy rate in Donegal increased by 0.6 percentage points to 17.5% in the twelve months to Q4 2022 according to the latest GeoDirectory Commercial Vacancy Rates Report, published today.  

The commercial vacancy rate in Donegal was higher than the national average of 14.0%.

According to the report the commercial vacancy rate in Ireland hit a ten year high of 14%, the highest level recorded by GeoDirectory since the report began in 2013. The report, prepared by EY, found that commercial vacancies increased in 18 out of 26 counties.


GeoDirectory released its first Commercial Vacancy Rates Report in January 2013.

The Commercial Vacancy Rate at the time was 11.4%, 3.9 percentage points lower than the 14.0% rate recorded in Q4 2022.

With the exception of Dublin, every county has experienced an increase in commercial vacancy rates over the past decade. Donegal, at 5.5 percentage points, registered highest increase in commercial vacancy rates as a percentage of stock between January 2013 and December 2022 (12.0% to 17.5%).

Ballybofey had the highest vacancy rate at 29.2%, followed by Letterkenny (24%) and Cootehill (23.6%). On the other hand, Bundoran (12.2%) and Buncrana (12.4%) had the lowest vacancy rates in Ulster.

Services accounted for nearly half (47.6%) of the total occupied units in Ulster. The highest share of this was in Bundoran (74.7%), followed by Buncrana (52.6%), Donegal town (52.5%), Letterkenny (50.9%), and Ballybofey (50.6%).

Commenting on the findings of the latest Commercial Vacancy Rates Report, Dara Keogh, Chief Executive of GeoDirectory said, “The rate of commercial vacancies is the highest level recorded by GeoDirectory since the Commercial Vacancy Rates Report began in 2013, continuing the trend of increasing rates in recent years. It is likely that this will continue in the short to medium term, as working-from-home becomes more formalised, combined with the growth of online retail and services, resulting in businesses requiring less physical space than previously.”

Annette Hughes, Director of EY Economic Advisory Services said, “Only five counties in the country recorded a decrease in commercial vacancy rates, while counties along the west coast continue to exceed the national average. Looking at specific economic sectors, there was a notable drop in the number of Service and Retail & Wholesale units, which points to the ongoing challenges these sectors face due to evolving economic trends and geopolitical uncertainties.”


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