LOUTH COUNTY COUNCIL spent more than €34m on housing stock in the six years up to 2011, newly released figures have revealed, with the most expensive property bought at Sean O'Carroll Street, Ardee, for €365,000.
The housing acquisitions list was released to Sinn Féin councillor Jim Loughran after he made a number of requests to council officials for the figures. The report reveals how the council's property-buying peaked in 2007 with a massive €13m being spent on 35 private properties as well as 18 social or affordable houses.
In total, 86 private properties were acquired by the council in the years 2006 to 2011, costing €23,684,500, with the rest of the €34,211,245 being spent on 47 social or affordable homes. The council's numbers reveal that the average price paid for property by the local authority is €257,227.
What is not revealed in the figures is the size of houses bought and, in the case of private vendors, the names of who sold their homes to the council. The names of developers who sold property to Louth County Council under 'Part V' affordable and social housing are stated in the report.
In line with the boom and bust reflected across the country, the council's spending on housing rose and fell with the economy. In 2006, the council purchased 18 private homes, and the same number of affordable and social homes, that cost a total of €8,393,310.
A year later, the council bought 35 private homes, costing over €10m, and 18 social and affordable houses brought the total spend for 2007, considered the height of the property bubble, was €13,866,238.
Just 12 months on, the bubble burst and just over €2m in total was spent by the council on 10 houses, eight of which were bought under the social or affordable housing schemes.
There was a slight improvement in 2009, when nine private houses were purchased, along with five under the social housing scheme. The total spent this year was €3,561,177.
In 2010, the council bought no social or affordable homes, but spent €3,068,500 on 15 private properties. And last year, just seven private properties were built, with one more bought under the social scheme. The total spend was €1,508,000, the lowest spent in the six years from 2006 to 2011.