Updated: 07/03/18 : 06:09:02
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No demand for hundreds of ghost estate empty homes

Almost 670 homes are complete but empty in unfinished housing estates across the country - with the Department of Housing saying that there is no demand for social units in these areas.

The Resolving Unfinished Housing Developments report 2017 shows the number of ghost estates has dropped from more than 3,000 at the start of 2011 to just 256 at the end of last year.

Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English has expressed hopes for a “100 per cent turnaround” of unfinished estates.

According to the report, Sligo had 12 development sites where no activity was taking place.

Leitrim had 21 development sites, three of which were said to be active.

Five out of 28 unfinished housing developments in Co Roscommon were said to be “active”

A spokesman said local authorities were purchasing homes for social housing where demand existed, but that in some locations there was no demand.

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.

The report said “through consultation with local authorities” it was considered that this approach did not present “a true holistic approach”.

Instead local authorities and the Department of Housing will, in future, assess the suitability of available houses with regard to housing need and demand in the area.

They will also consider availability of services such as schools and public transport and existing levels of social housing.

The report said the intention was to examine social housing within the locality “and whether further social housing would be appropriate or lead to an over concentration and poor tenure mix”.

Co Wexford had the largest number of vacant units, some 251 homes, in 2017. This was followed by Laois, which had 135 vacant units in unfinished estates and Co Cork, which had 129.