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Archive for October 21st, 2010

The Independent is reporting that Planning Minister Ciaran Cuffe’s long-awaited review of some ghost estates is to be published later today. Remembering that the review was set up to examine estates built after 2007 where there is more than 10% vacancy and the review doesn’t examine vacant one-off housing or pre-2007 estates, what we will get today is a partial picture of vacant residential property. The results have been well trailered already and will probably show 100,000 vacant dwellings on 2,700 estates, with estates suffering from incomplete access roads, water and sewage systems and incomplete buildings which pose a health and safety hazard. The report is likely to set out options for dealing with partly-complete or part-vacant estates that may include bulldozing and selling to local authorities for social housing. The issue of unpaid development levies is likely to be also addressed. The betting is that the media will go with the headline “vacant homes only one third of previous estimates”, but because the review is partial that would be thoroughly misleading. The location of the estates will be of interest.

There will be links and analysis posted here later.

UPDATE: Well there is a press release from the Minister here, and the upshot is that there are 2800 estates built in “the last few years” which had planning permission for 180,000 dwelling.  Of these planning permissions 120,000 are complete or nearly complete. Of these 120,000 complete or nearly complete, 77,000 are occupied. Of the remaining 43,000, 33,000 are complete and unoccupied and the remaining 10,000 are nearly completed and of course vacant. The Minister is saying that the vacancies represent 18 months worth of construction. The press release makes reference to a report but it does not yet appear to be available.

COMMENT: Remember this is a partial survey of vacant property. Originally its remit was only to look as estates commenced post 2007 and of course it excludes one-off housing. Approximately 14,000 homes will be completed this year (though this year’s completions will be lowest in a decade). Matching housing to population change is a challenge and immediate forecasts for population growth tend to be modest with high levels of emigration.

A summary report has been produced which is available here. In summary 2,846 developments in the State were examined of which 357 were in Dublin. Planning permission was granted for approximately 179,273 dwellings but having reviewed the estates on the ground, it seems that only 121,248 have had any work undertaken at all, and there are a further 58,025 on which no work whatsoever has been undertaken. Of the 121,248 complete or partly complete dwellings 78,195 are occupied. Of the remaining 43,053 remaining dwellings 23,250 are complete and vacant. That leaves 20,003 that are incomplete and obviously vacant. Of those about half are nearly complete.

Regionally, Dublin accounts for just under a third of all vacant and completed dwellings. And its four local authorities each have about average national vacancy rates (comparing with 2006 census results). Longford has the highest completed vacancy rate in the State closely followed by Leitrim. Waterford City has the lowest, followed by Limerick County and City. By the way the title above is tongue in cheek – the survey published today excludes one-off housing and estates started pre-2007. Hopefully when the full report is published which lists the estates, we will get a better idea of what is missing.

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