Belfast Telegraph

Survey shows fall in ghost estates

There are 2,066 ghost estates around the country - a fall of more than 800 in the past year, a Government survey has revealed.

Willie Penrose, Minister for Housing and Planning, said a fifth of houses lying vacant in 2010 are now in some sort of use.

"There is no magic wand that can solve this in one fell swoop. It will take time, hard work, co-operation, a willing spirit and not a little patience to see its resolution," he said.

When the hangover from the property bubble was first assessed by independent researchers at NUI Maynooth last year, it showed more than 300,000 empty homes around the country and 600 ghost estates - developments which are abandoned, unoccupied or uncompleted.

The latest official survey from the Department of the Environment has inspected 2,876 housing developments of two or more units.

Since last year it found 701 developments have been completed and 109 developments have not substantially commenced.

The analysis showed 18,638 dwellings were recorded as finished but empty - a fall of a fifth in the 23,250 recorded last year - while there are another 17,872 dwellings at various stages of construction.

The survey found 7,343 dwellings recorded as vacant in 2010 are now occupied.

The minister also launched a code of practice to be applied by developers, financial institutions including bad-bank Nama which controls 20 large developments, local authorities and residents.

The Nama sites are among 211 estates given a category four warning tag of being the most problematic from a public safety perspective.

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