Almost 19,000 houses empty in ghost estates
ALMOST 19,000 completed new homes remain unsold in so-called 'ghost estates' across the country -- but the number is falling.
A new report from the Department of the Environment shows that almost 4,500 houses and apartments have been occupied in the last year, but a total of 18,638 units are lying empty.
And the National Housing Survey published yesterday shows that more than 800 developments have been finished since the last survey in 2010, with works funded by bank receivers, NAMA, local authorities and developers.
Work on making 36 sites safe by fencing off dangerous areas, removing scaffolding and demolishing structurally unsound buildings has been completed, with work to begin on another 211 over the coming months.
Housing Minister Willie Penrose admitted that despite the progress made so far, the problem of unfinished developments would be around for some years to come.
"There is no magic wand that can solve this in one fell swoop," he said. "We're all aware that many housing developments have been left in an incomplete and unsatisfactory state.
"Much remains to be done, and the problem will be around for some years to come," Mr Penrose added
Last year officials from the Department of the Environment inspected almost 2,900 sites across the country and identified the number of completed but empty units, the number under construction and progress made completing open spaces, roads and installing street lighting. The survey was repeated a year later and found:
•701 developments have been completed and no building work had commenced on 109 others, leaving 2,066 unfinished housing developments.
•There is no construction work being carried out on most sites, with just 245 classed as "active".
•Some 18,638 units are complete but vacant, a drop of 20pc.
The analysis also shows the counties with the highest number of unoccupied units by number of households.
Limerick City has the lowest number of empty homes with three per 1,000 households, following by Galway City, Wicklow, Waterford County and Waterford City with five each.
The highest rate is in Carlow, with 59 unoccupied homes per 1,000 households.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said the survey results showed there was demand for homes in some areas, warning that "There is a substantial demand for housing in the growth centres where available supply is falling quite rapidly," CIF spokesman Hubert Fitzpatrick said.