Report estimates there are almost 250,000 vacant properties

This place is a basket case.

Location, Location, Location

Repossession, repossession, repossession

Is there an extra zero here? We don’t need 125,000 new homes a year.

Where is the report?
Where is the link
What is the *estimate * based on?
No info on Indo or other websites
No info on housing agency website
No enumeration of the amount of holiday homes in the figure
Or where they are located.

I think I heard Conor Skehan, Chair of The Housing Agency, say the figures were taken from Census 2011 and exclude holiday homes.

He also said the agency have requested an early update from Census 2016.

If correct, this is a phenomenal number.

But… but… but… lack of supply… need to subsidise the construction industry and developers…

FFS. Are you kidding me. 2011 census, which has been available for the last 4.5 years
This figure includes for holiday homes and most empties are in the west and border counties.
I really cant comprehend such idiotic headlines on out of date info.

The 2011 census counted vacant properties – see: … language=0

In summary, the residential unit numbers in April 2011 were:

A   Occupied by usual resident(s) of the household (Number)    1,649,408
B   Occupied by visitors only (Number)                            10,703
C   Unoccupied - residents temporarily absent (Number)            45,283
D   Unoccupied - vacant house (Number)                           168,427
E   Unoccupied - vacant flat (Number)                             61,629
F   Unoccupied - vacant holiday home (Number)                     59,395
G   Total housing stock ( A+B+C+D+E+F ) (Number)               1,994,845
Total vacant units not including holiday homes                   230,056
Vacancy rate (D+E+F) / G (%)                                       14.5%
Vacancy rate not including holiday homes (D+E) / G (%)             11.5%

I assume that some of the unoccupied number represent valid voids in rental accommodation.

The detail by county where the columns contain the following:

A Occupied By Usual Resident(S) Of The Household
B Occupied By Visitors Only
C Unoccupied - Residents Temporarily Absent
D Unoccupied - Vacant House
E Unoccupied - Vacant Flat
F Unoccupied - Vacant Holiday Home
G Total Housing Stock (A+B+C+D+E+F )
H Total Unoccupied Non-Holiday Homes


                                       A          B          C          D          E          F          G          H
Carlow                             19,365        142        456      2,287        632        283     23,165      2,919
Cavan                              25,720        124        590      5,325        952      1,000     33,711      6,277
Clare                              42,534        286      1,014      5,936      1,236      4,610     55,616      7,172
Cork City                          47,110        478      1,877      3,342      2,766         60     55,633      6,108
Cork County                       140,445        792      3,644     16,781      3,098      7,282    172,042     19,879
Donegal                            57,721        579      1,622     11,048      2,312     10,636     83,918     13,360
Dublin City                       207,847      2,073      7,120      7,995     16,321        322    241,678     24,316
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown             75,786        565      2,929      2,746      3,750        120     85,896      6,496
Fingal                             92,951        199      2,439      4,070      2,823        311    102,793      6,893
Galway City                        27,697        551      1,652      1,887      1,685        183     33,655      3,572
Galway County                      60,644        382      1,430     10,317      1,475      3,274     77,522     11,792
Kerry                              53,088        665      1,275      9,860      1,657      8,202     74,747     11,517
Kildare                            70,504        273      1,706      4,432      1,691        188     78,794      6,123
Kilkenny                           33,583         98        700      3,569        654        401     39,005      4,223
Laois                              27,916         75        586      3,277        661        149     32,664      3,938
Leitrim                            12,228        103        271      3,463        573      1,490     18,128      4,036
Limerick City                      22,300        289        819      1,499      1,764         10     26,681      3,263
Limerick County                    47,121        434      1,079      5,634        764        443     55,475      6,398
Longford                           14,410         50        288      3,202        556        317     18,823      3,758
Louth                              43,897        163        894      4,207      1,406        619     51,186      5,613
Mayo                               47,932        372      1,258     10,194      1,582      4,454     65,792     11,776
Meath                              61,922        163      1,439      4,311      1,565        297     69,697      5,876
Monaghan                           21,176         65        417      2,731        502        165     25,056      3,233
North Tipperary                    25,611        109        543      3,339        509        679     30,790      3,848
Offaly                             26,543         87        500      2,858        544        218     30,750      3,402
Roscommon                          23,601        109        543      5,630        640      1,062     31,585      6,270
Sligo                              24,428        314        974      4,473      1,086      1,769     33,044      5,559
South Dublin                       89,877        145      2,027      2,786      2,439         24     97,298      5,225
South Tipperary                    32,664        106        597      3,809        571        437     38,184      4,380
Waterford City                     18,199        145        697      1,787      1,454         59     22,341      3,241
Waterford County                   24,040        134        552      2,971        301      2,025     30,023      3,272
Westmeath                          30,624        266        848      3,480      1,141        300     36,659      4,621
Wexford                            52,345        235      1,234      5,840      1,574      6,915     68,143      7,414
Wicklow                            47,579        132      1,263      3,341        945      1,091     54,351      4,286
TOTAL                           1,649,408     10,703     45,283    168,427     61,629     59,395  1,994,845    230,056

Most of the unoccupied units are in places where there is low demand for them.

The unoccupied residential unit number for the four Dublin local authorities was 42,930.

Since May 2011, the month after the census, there were 50,466 new residential unit completions, up to March 2016 – see: … nal_6.xlsx

Note that these numbers are based on the number of new dwellings connected by ESB Networks to the electricity network.

This number does not reflect the number of units actually built in that time. A large but unspecified number of these will have been previously unfinished housing estates that have been completed.

The population in April 2011 was 4,588,252. The CSO’s estimate of the population in 2016 is around 4.7 million (though I suspect this is a bit low).

So the population increased by at least 120,000 since April 2011. This growth will have caused previously unoccupied units to become occupied.

It is reasonable to assume that the number of vacant residential properties has only decreased since April 2011 when the number (excluding holiday units) was 230,056.

So, in summary:

• 230,056 unoccupied units (excluding holdiay homes) in April 2011 including an unspecified number of unfinished units

• 50,466 new residential unit completions since May 20111 including an unspecified number of previously unfinished units

• Population increase of at least 120,00 since April 2011

will have lead to a decrease in the number of unoccupied units since April 2011 of at least 40,000.

Are the Housing Agency assuming that:

  1. None of the previously unoccupied 230,056 units have been occupled

  2. None of the unoccupied number represent valid voids in rental accommodation

  3. None of the 50,466 completions since May 2011 are occupied

  4. None of the 50,466 completions since May 2011 represent the completion of previous uncompleted and unoccupied units

  5. None of the population increase of at least 120,00 has caused an existing unoccupied unit to be occuplied

This is the only way they could have come up with a nunber of over 250,000.

So unless the Housing Agency is proposing to nationalise holiday homes and/or forcibly relocate large numbers of people to places where the unoccupied units are located, along the lines of Stalin’s mass deportations of the Crimean Tatars, Crimean Greeks, Volga Germans, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars and Meskhetian Turks, I call this report tendentious bullshit.

The Housing Quang-Agency are just pushing their own agenda while squandering taxpayer’s money.

On a positive note, such mass deportations might give rise to a Eurovision winning song for Ireland, finally. As such it would be a small price to pay. Perhaps a variation of Big Tom’s classic:

Four country roads, winding to a town in County Galway
Four country roads, leading to the friends I left behind
Four dusty roads, winding to the town of Glenamaddy
Four dusty roads, forever in the caverns of my mind


Crappy headlines to sell newspapers/clickbait.

As well as many of the empties being in the wrong areas I would hazard a guess that as many as 50% of these empty houses outside the cities are old (but not period) rural houses vacated by elderly people that will never be used again as it is a better solution to knock these and rebuild a modern home. And not many will want to rebuild in these places anyway, hence why the house is an empty in the first place.

Many of the empty houses that I see in the city belong to elderly people in nursing homes, where the house is indefinitely on hold, or to people who are currently abroad but are planning to return at some point and don’t want the hassle of renting the house out in the interim. Some other houses are probably lying idle due to unresolved wills. I wouldn’t think that any of the city houses in these categories can or will be made available until the natural cycle of life works its way forward.

Another big factor in demand for household units is average household size.

This has been steadily falling in Ireland for decades but still remains above the European average. … mended.pdf
(page 25) … households.png

EU - 28 average is 2.3, with Ireland still having one of the highest average household sizes.

So from 1991 to 2011 (20 years) average household size went down by 0.6

Given we’re still above the EU average, we can expect the pattern to continue, a very cautious estimate would be that in the five years since we can expect a reduction of at least 0.1. (Slower than the rate since 1991, but still downwards)

That’s 63,600 new households without any immigration or a high birthrate.

No doubt the preferred solution will be to impose penalties/fines/additional taxes on people who cannot afford to do up the properties because of a lack of bank finance or otherwise thereby forcing them to sell to wealthy corporates/professionals who can make a killing? That is the usual sh1te the civil servants and talking heads in the media come up with. Viva the 1%!

We’ve covered this in an earlier thread when someone posted a link to a map based on the 2011 Census results which showed vacancy rates for individual areas. At least for the two areas where I had enough first hand knowledge to do my own numbers the Census numbers were wildly overstated. Is it in a census enumerators’ interest to mark a house as unoccupied if they don’t get an answer at the door after a couple of visits? I can’t think of any other reason for the numbers being so far out?

What makes a house unoccupied?
I can think of four houses near me that could potentially have been marked as unoccupied as there was no-one in them on census night.

  1. One where the couple go down to her very elderly mother every weekend and drive up on Monday morning to go to work
  2. An elderly gentleman who has been in hospital for the last few months but is hoping to return home
  3. A house that has been Sale Agreed for about 4 months but noone has moved in
  4. A house that was bought late last year and is being refurbished

In which of these cases (if any) is the property considered unoccupied for the purposes of the census?

1 & 2 wouldn’t be unoccupied in the census. They would be temporarily vacant, in the same way as if you’d been on holiday on census night.
That’s provided the census forms were filled in correctly and the residents were listed as “temporarily absent” vs the census form not being filled in at all.

3 & 4 would be unoccupied for the purposes of the census.

The report is on their website:

under Publications…Latest Publications…Submissions to Oireachtas

Why aren’t they for sale? Plenty of people can work remotely. I’d return to Ireland and freelance . The further away from Dublin and built up areas the better.

Thanks Jess, I’m not sure if there was anyone there to collect the census form in case 2 - I know relatives go in and out but I don’t know if the census people drop the form in through the door.

Friend of mine spent three years trying to sell her mothers house just outside a small town very far from Dublin. It was always for sale - just nobody wanted to buy it - and they weren’t being greedy with the price - they made it clear to the EA that any decent offer would be considered - they didn’t even get stupid offers.

To be honest I wouldn’t live in rural ireland, I might have done it in my 20s/30s but as life rolls on I don’t fancy life as an elderly person in the country. Outside a town is impossible without having to drive everywhere and I have yet to find a country town that I find attractive - towns that were attractive twenty years ago are now depressing kips dominated by local mafias who own everything in the place and let it go to rack and ruin.

Contributions like this are obstructive, contrary and add confusion to a difficult situation that is getting only more difficult.

He seems to suggest that there is a vast pool of immediately available housing that can be used to address any housing requirements. This is manifestly not correct.

His own agency published reports on housing requirements: … ort-v4.pdf … Report.pdf

Table 5.2 Breakdown of Housing Demand by Region 2014 – 2018

No. Of Additional Housing Units Required 2014 – 2018 - 80,368

How does 80,000 units required from 2014 to 2018 translate to 125,000 units a year for two years?

His own agency published the results of surveys on unfinished developments: … ing-Survey … urvey.aspx

The status of residential units in these developments in these surveys is classified as one of:

  1. Complete & Occupied
  2. Complete & Vacant
  3. Near Complete
  4. Wall Plate Level
  5. DPC Level
  6. Foundation Level
  7. Not Started
  8. Planning Expired

In 2012 in the four Dublin local authorities, there were 5,727 units classified as:

• Complete & Vacant
• Near Complete

that is, available or nearly available for occupation.

By 2015, this had fallen to 904. According to his own agency:


There is no standardised and published definition of what is a vacant residential property.

A property could be in transition from one owner to another or be for sale. Is this classified as vacant? Is a house that is being renovated classified as vacant?

Is a largely derelict residential property classified as vacant?

At what stage is a property that is being built described as unoccupied?

The Housing Agency report quotes actions taken in other countries such as UK:

Without stating how actions like this could work in Ireland given the particular circumstances that apply, these comments are less than useless.

As his own agency recognises through the unfinished housing development survey, in many cases, the high vacancy rate is caused by ghost estates built in places where there is no demand and where there never will be any demand.

There is a requirement to build more residential property. Any diversion from this statement is not helpful. Building of the requirement residential property is not happening. So, stop making statements that deflect from this and take actions that generate this result.