independent

Wednesday 18 July 2018

High level of vacant homes in the county

Station Court in Gorey was one of the unfinished estates completed by Nama
Station Court in Gorey was one of the unfinished estates completed by Nama

Esther Hayden

Wexford has the second highest number of vacant units in surveyed unfinished developments according to the latest figures.

The 2017 annual progress report on actions to address unfinished housing developments which was published last week shows that while levels of vacancy have reduced significantly Wexford still remains one of the highest in the country with 227 vacant units last year.

It came second only to Wicklow which has 251 vacant homes.

The report shows that in 2013 there were 85 developments in Wexford surveyed. This reduced to 77 in 2014, 52 in 2015, 32 in 2016 and six in 2017. Of these 15 six were found to be substantially complete or fully active to be removed from the Unfinished Housing Developments database.

There was a reduction of 40 per cent between 2016 and 2017 and nine housing estates remain on the database.

Of the 15 developments surveyed in 2017 just two were being developed by Wexford County Council. Four unfinished estates have a number of buildings in it which are occupied despite the fact that there are building shells in the estate.

Nama also completed a number of unfinished housing estates around the country including Station Court in Gorey. In December 2016 14 two and three bedroom properties were handed over to tenants following a partnership between the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Wexford County Council and Oaklee Housing.

According to the report there are no NAMA developments left in Wexford.

Minister for Housing and Urban Development Damien English said that nationally there had been a 91 per cent reduction in the number of unfinished developments since 2010.

Minister English indicated that his objective is to resolve all remaining unfinished housing developments especially those within high market demand locations and strive for 100 per cent turnaround.

He said: 'In the last twelve months we have resolved 165 developments and intend to build on that success with a further push in 2018 to resolve as many as possible of the remaining unfinished developments.'

The report said local authorities were continuing to identify and acquire homes in 'ghost estates' - whether partially occupied or empty estates. However, in a change from previous years the report does not identify the potential number of social houses arising from unfinished estates.

In the future local authorities working with the Government will determine the suitability of available houses in an area with regard to housing need and demand in the locality taking into account the availability of services such as schools and public transport and existing levels of social housing.

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