Vacant dwellings increased in boom


VACANCY RATES:THE CONSTRUCTION boom contributed to a huge rise in the number of vacant dwellings in the State, according to the Central Statistics Office’s report on Census 2011. The number of such dwellings increased from 105,250 in 1996 to 289,451 last year with the biggest increase occurring between 2002 and 2006.

On census night in April 2011, 78 per cent of all housing units in the seaside town of Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, were empty, giving it the highest vacancy rate in the State. Nationwide 92 towns had a vacancy rate of more than 35 per cent, including 15 in Donegal and 13 each in Cork and Kerry. When excluding holiday homes, Tulsk and Frenchpark in Co Roscommon had the highest vacancy rates at 51 and 44 per cent respectively.

The figure of 289,451 vacant premises last year included 168,427 houses, 61,629 apartments and 59,395 holiday homes. The number of vacant houses was down from 174,935 in 2006 with the most significant decline, more than 30 per cent, in the Dublin area, but the number of vacant apartments rose 48 per cent over the same period from 41,598, with increases recorded in every county.

There were 16,321 vacant apartments in Dublin city, and 16,781 in Cork county. The number of vacant apartments in Co Monaghan rose 176 per cent from 2006, while their numbers more than doubled in counties Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Meath and Kilkenny.

While vacant housing stock remained largely unchanged between 1991 and 1996, the construction boom from 1996 coincided with a sharp rise in the number of vacant dwellings.

The number of vacant units increased by 36 per cent from 105,250 to 143,418 between 1996 and 2002, and by a further 86 per cent to 266,322 in 2006. An additional 9 per cent growth led to 289,451 vacant dwellings last year. Of those 52 per cent were in rural areas, the rest in urban areas. Apartments comprised 60 per cent of all vacant dwellings in Dublin city and suburbs.

There was a 19 per cent rise in the number of vacant holiday homes, up from 49,789 in 2006 to 59,395 last year. Donegal had more vacant holiday homes than any other county.