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Tuam has County Galway’s highest number of vacant commercial premises

Figures released this week show that more than one in every six commercial premises in County Galway are lying empty – the second highest rate nationally.

But the figure is even worse in Tuam, where around one in every four business premises are vacant.

And the author of a new report believes the vacancy rates will continue to rise in the short-to-medium term as people continue to work from home and shop online.

According to the new report from GeoDirectory and EY Economic Advisory Services, of the 8,964 commercial premises in County Galway at the end of 2022, there vacancy rate of 17.6%, up 0.7% from a year earlier.

That means the county now has the second-highest ‘empties’ rate in the country, behind Sligo at 19.6%.

Donegal (17.5%); Mayo (17.2%) and Roscommon (17.1%) complete the top five counties.

Overall, the west of the country continued to record high commercial vacancy rates in, with the rate in Connacht reaching 17.6% – an increase of 0.3% compared to the end of 2021.

Nationally, the average vacancy rate is 14% – the highest it has been since the GeoDirectory surveys began in 2013. For County Galway, the vacancy rate at the beginning of 2013 was 12.8%.

For Galway City, the rate was higher than County Galway, at 19.1% of the 2,914 premises (up 0.7% year on year) and in Loughrea, the rate was 16.8% (up 1.1%) of the 278 premises.

It was Tuam that recorded the biggest vacancy rate in County Galway, at 25.2% (up from 22.8& a year earlier) of the 420 premises. It was the sixth-highest town in the country, behind Shannon in Clare (29.8%); Ballybofey in Donegal (29.2%); Edgeworthstown in Longford (28.4%); Boyle in Roscommon (27.7%) and Sligo town (25.4%).

A breakdown of the commercial building uses for County Galway shows that 50% are in the services sector; 21% in retail and wholesale; 10% in health; 3.4% in construction; just under 5% in industry; 5.5% in education; 2.3% in the financial sector and 2.1% in public administration.

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.”

The GeoDirectory figures are recorded by 5,600 An Post delivery staff working with experts from Ordnance Survey Ireland.

The database is used by many different companies and organisations across a diverse range of applications.

It is used by the emergency services, as well as utility companies, banks and local authorities.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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