Number of vacant properties in state estimated at between 96,000 - 183,000

Around 3,000 vacant units have been converted for social housing purposes in the last 12 months with the total number of vacant properties in the state estimated to be between 96,000 and 183,000 properties.

According to a Department of Housing spokesperson the converted units included empty flats, derelict housing and houses purchased under state renovation schemes.

RTE are also reporting that so far this year 300 vacant units have been acquired by the Housing Agency which has been tasked with buying another 1,600 houses over the next 36 months for social housing.

The news comes as it emerged a database of vacant homes is being established to determine the exact number of vacant homes in Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today Mayo County Council’s Director of Services, Thomas Gilligan, described the initiative as a way to "utilise existing housing stock in order to address the housing need."

The idea for a national database came from Mayo County Council.

"We recognised that tackling vacant homes can make a very significant contribution to addressing the housing need and bringing long-term vacant homes back into use," he said.

Mr Gilligan told RTE the database would be accessible by anyone with the primary aim being to identify the owners of the vacant homes.

The number of vacant properties nationwide is estimated to be between 96,000 and 183,000.

Just last week the Department of Housing revealed that just under 8,000 people - including nearly 3,000 children - were homeless in June.

Child protection charity, Barnardos, described the figures as "disturbing".

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