Central Statistics Office (CSO) statistics reveal that at least 220,000 houses and apartments are lying vacant across Ireland. The figures were published in 2007 and were available last year but only recently mentioned in the national press. With an increase in rent of up to 20% in the last 12 months, 41,600 apartments and 174,900 houses remain unoccupied. These figures do not include the 50,000 vacant holiday homes around Ireland, or the 30,000 other temporarily vacant properties around the country. The 2006 CSO Report states that: “Approximately 266,000 residences were vacant at the time of the census while in a further 30,000 cases the household was either enumerated elsewhere or temporarily absent from the State.”
15% of Ireland’s available housing is now vacant. Developers in Ireland are currently building houses and apartments at a rate of 20 units per 1,000/population. This is almost ten times the average European rate, at between two and four housing units per 1,000 people.
The 2006 figures indicate that 11,000 housing units are vacant in the Fingal Co. Council region of Dublin, 10,000 in the Dublin City Council region, 3,000 in South Dublin and nearly 2,400 in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. In Cork City, 4,000 properties are vacant. Limerick has over 3,000 empty houses and apartments, Galway around 1,300 and Waterford over 1,200 vacant properties.
In total, 174,900 houses, 41,600 apartments and flats, and 50,000 holiday homes: 266,500 properties.
The 2002 census found 104,000 properties vacant, already a substantial number. Comparing the rise in vacancy rates between 2002 and 2006, a spokesman for the CSO told the Sunday Tribune, “In the case of these vacant homes, the (census) enumerator would have gone back to the houses repeatedly to ensure they were actually vacant. . . The vacancy rate has doubled in a four year period. There is evidence that there are a lot of houses out there vacant.”
In a related development, house prices in Dublin have now fallen by 10 per cent on average in 2007 compared with 2006, according to a report by the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers’ Institute (IAVI).
There seems to be evidence that vacancies are steadily climbing since 2006, since second-hand apartments are more difficult to sell than second-hand houses, with falls of up to 17 per cent, and that up to 40,000 apartments are vacant in the capital.
(Irish Auction Info):
(Vacant Housing Doubled in Ireland, Una Mullally, Sunday Tribune, 24th May 2008): http://www.tribune.ie/article.tvt?_scope=TribuneFTF&id=109701&SUBCAT=&SUBCATNAME=&DT=13/01/2008%2000:00:00&keywords=galway&FC=
(Irish Census 2006):
(Irish Housing: Watching a Fat Man Dance, August 18th 2007, Conor McCabe). Dublin Opinion Blog http://dublinopinion.com/2007/08/18/irish-housing-watching-a-fat-man-dance/