MORE than half of the 1,770 unfinished housing estates across the country are in a "seriously problematic condition" and need urgent works to complete them.
The Department of the Environment says that more than 1,100 of these ghost estates are lacking basic services including roads, street lights and sewage treatment systems and will need to be upgraded.
And the report says there is almost 17,000 completed houses and apartments which are currently lying empty.
However, progress is being made on tackling the problem with 300 developments substantially completed in the last year.
Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan said that while some housing estates would be “commercially unviable” and may have to be demolished, a final decision would not be taken until next year.
“About 1,100 are considered to be particularly problematic and we want to address the issues,” she said. “There is real engagement with stakeholders, including residents, and we will have a plan to address the estates with significant difficulties by the Spring.
“Bulldozing is going to be an issue, but we expect just a fraction of the 1,100 estate will be affected. It might not be entire estates, it may be areas of them.
There is also the possibility of using the homes for other uses, such as schools or nursing homes.”
The county with the highest proportion of unfinished units is Leitrim, where there is 35 vacant units per 1,000 households.
This compares with two in Waterford City and Limerick City.