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40% of NI retail and office space now empty

Vacancy rate lays bare the challenge for town centres

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Belfast recorded Northern Ireland’s largest vacancy rate of 33%, with the number of empty properties standing at 1,841, and 3,733 occupied. Photo: Paul Faith/PA

Belfast recorded Northern Ireland’s largest vacancy rate of 33%, with the number of empty properties standing at 1,841, and 3,733 occupied. Photo: Paul Faith/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Belfast recorded Northern Ireland’s largest vacancy rate of 33%, with the number of empty properties standing at 1,841, and 3,733 occupied. Photo: Paul Faith/PA

More than 40% of non-domestic properties in Northern Ireland are lying empty.

As of May more than 2,600 unoccupied buildings, mostly shops, were recorded here.

The figures were revealed by Communities Minister Caral Ni Chuilin in response to an Assembly question from the DUP's Mervyn Storey.