Thursday 21 September 2017

Shortage of homes - but bustling city has 2,800 vacant properties

The Central Statistics Office is unable to provide a reason as to why 1,200 houses in alway city are empty. Picture: Richard Cummins / Lonely Planet Images
The Central Statistics Office is unable to provide a reason as to why 1,200 houses in alway city are empty. Picture: Richard Cummins / Lonely Planet Images
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Galway city is home to almost 79,000 people, has two universities, a major hospital - and, like most towns and cities, suffers from a shortage of housing.

The Housing Agency says 2,316 new homes are needed between now and 2020, but delivery is not keeping pace with demand. Last year, just 133 were built. So far this year, work has started on 35.

But Census 2016 data shows there are 2,841 vacant homes in the city.

At least 900 are in the city centre, another 355 are in the village of Barna, just on the outskirts, and 324 are in Ballybane, near the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The Central Statistics Office is unable to provide a reason as to why 1,200 are empty.

Auctioneer Colm O'Donnellan says that some units may have been bought for development projects which never went ahead, and expressed surprise at vacancy levels.

"There's a huge demand for doer-uppers, but a limited number are coming to the market," he says. "There's a lot of guys who are handy, or have access to tradesmen. We had a house listed recently in Newcastle for €185,000, and it got €250,000. We have one in Bowling Green at €80,000 going into our next auction. There will be huge demand.

"We don't see 2,800 vacant properties. If you had a property, why would you leave it vacant? There's huge demand for rental and sale. It's not like a rural environment with limited demand."

Irish Independent

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