Northern Ireland ghost estate bought for £2.3m by housing association
One of Northern Ireland's ghost estates has been finished and sold for £2.3m almost 10 years after the property market crash, developers have announced.
Work on the Scotch Quarter in Carrickfergus began in 2008, but was abandoned just a year later after the market for homes failed to recover.
Now, almost a decade later, new developer Hagan Homes has completed the 24-unit scheme of one and two-bed apartments after taking over development last year.
The company announced yesterday that the Habinteg Housing Association, which specialises in homes for disabled people, had bought the project for just under £2.3m - or approximately £96,000 per house.
The homes will be rented to elderly people.
Jamesy Hagan, managing director at Hagan Homes, said: "The previous owners of the Scotch Quarter site in Carrickfergus started construction in 2008, but unfortunately had to suspend all development due to the property crash.
"This meant that the site became an eyesore in a prominent location in the town.
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"When Hagan Homes acquired the site and started work on it in 2015, the local community reacted positively.
"They recognised that Hagan Homes builds affordable, quality, stylish homes and that we achieve this by appointing award-winning architects, interior designers and craftspeople.
"Habinteg Housing Association expressed an interest in purchasing the completed development because they felt the accommodation was in line with their ethos of providing high-quality housing for local communities.
"Habinteg had recently acquired properties at our Fort Hall development in Dundonald, and during this sale we were impressed with their approach and attention to detail, so it was a natural fit in terms of the acquisition of the Carrick development."
Ghost estates became a hallmark of the property crash in the Republic, although there were relatively few in Northern Ireland.
At the worst of the crash, more than 120,000 homes across the island were empty and in various states of progress after developers ran out of money and were unable to finish projects.
The impact was so severe that the Republic appointed a government minister just to deal with the problem.
In 2011, the Housing Executive estimated that up to 5,000 houses across Northern Ireland remained unfinished because of the devastating collapse of the property market.
Four years ago, two Co Down couples spoke out about what was branded Northern Ireland's worst ghost estate - Quoile Crescent in Downpatrick.
The houses have since been completed, but some remain empty.
Habinteg Housing Association manages 2,000 properties across more than 100 sites.
Development manager Andrew Corkill said the deal was part of the organisation's plans to expand its portfolio
"The purchase of the Scotch Quarter development for active elderly accommodation helps us realise our vision through reducing the housing need in this area and strengthening the community by providing home for all,"he explained..
Co Antrim firm Hagan Homes is one of Northern Ireland's largest house-builders.
The family-run company has built almost 3,300 houses across the region since it was established 28 years ago.