Number of 'ghost estates' hits 2,881

Tue, Sep 13, 2011, 01:00

THE NUMBER of “ghost estates” has increased, figures to be published next month will show.

Colm Ó Ruanaidh, senior adviser on social housing at the Department of the Environment, told the housing policy conference that the count for this year was not yet complete, but semi or unoccupied housing developments showed there had been an increase from 2,846 last year to 2,881 this year.

A departmental spokesman said Mr Ó Ruanaidh was working from “raw data” that would be finalised and published next month.

“The additional 35 developments constitute an increase in the number of dwellings in ghost estates from 179,230 last year to 179,900,” Mr Ó Ruanaidh said.

Some 230 unfinished developments have met the criteria to benefit from a €5 million fund to address immediate safety concerns. A guidebook for residents in unfinished estates is to be published in coming weeks.

Marian Finnegan, chief economist with Sherry FitzGerald, said the collapse in housing prices singled Ireland out as having had the worst crash in house prices in the world since the second World War.

The bottom had not yet been reached, she warned, adding the peak-to-trough fall in prices would be of the order of 65 to 70 per cent, with one-bedroom apartments in badly serviced areas suffering the worst collapse.

She predicted there would be an average per annum demand for 30,000 homes between now and 2026, given a projected population growth to 5.1 million. “There will be a recovery in the housing market. There is still some way to go in prices falling.”