Still 75 ‘ghost estates’ left over from property crash

Department of Housing figures indicate some 40 of these developments remain totally unoccupied

There are still 75 so-called “ghost estates” left over from the 2008 property crash, according to the Department of Housing.

Some 40 of these unfinished housing developments (53 per cent) remain unoccupied.These developments mainly contain partial shells and units at foundation level and are securely fenced off and are located in low housing demand areas,” the department said.

The findings were part of a Department of Housing survey of 26 local authorities known to have unfinished housing developments, which will be published in the coming weeks.

The department’s survey found that between 2020 and 2022 there has been a 40 per cent reduction in unfinished developments, from 124 to 75.


It said 49 of the 124 developments are now being removed from the list of unfinished developments because they are substantially complete and/or
nearing completion.

“Many of these developments will now progress to being considered for taking in charge by the relevant local authority,” it said.

The locations of these estates were not disclosed but they will be included in the department’s upcoming report.

There were 35 unfinished estates that were partially occupied, and the department said these sites would “remain the focus for local authorities, to work towards a satisfactory resolution”.

In total, there are 459 occupied houses and 63 occupied apartments across these developments.

“It should be noted that the occupied portion of these unfinished developments are largely satisfactorily completed; however, the ‘unfinished’ element requires resolution,” the department said.

Since 2010 there has been a 98 per cent reduction in the number of unfinished housing developments, from 3,000 to 75, the department said.

“It is notable that 13 local authorities do not have any developments now classified as unfinished, as developments have progressed to be either substantially complete or have been reactivated and warrant removal from the unfinished list,” it said.

Architect and housing expert Mel Reynolds said based on the figures available, it is probable that 1,600-2,000 homes are available at various stages of construction.

“These represent a real opportunity given the current demand for rapid additional housing on well-located, serviced sites that have planning permission and that can be completed in a very short time frame,” he said.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times