Up to a third of houses lie empty

ALMOST one in three houses in some of Ireland’s most picturesque locations are lying empty.

Figures detailed in the preliminary census data show that Kerry, Leitrim, Donegal and Mayo are suffering from vacant property levels double and even triple the national average.

According to the initial Central Statistics Office (CSO) findings, the growth of new homes in Ireland between 2006 and 2011 (13.3%) was almost double the increase in our population (8.1%).

As a result, there are 294,202 vacant homes scattered across Ireland compared to 266,322 five years ago — a rise of 27,880.

Among the worst affected parts of the country are counties Kerry, Leitrim, Donegal and Mayo, where the vacant property rates stand at 26.5%, 30.4%, 28.5% and 24.8% respectively.

This means that in these picture-postcard counties the property crash has resulted in between one-in-four and one-in-three homes lying empty and unused.

Among the others are:

* Seven areas with approximately one-in-five homes empty (Longford, Wexford, Clare, Cavan, Galway county, Sligo and Roscommon).

* Three areas with one-in-six homes empty (Waterford city, Waterford county and Cork county).

* One area with one-in-seven homes empty (north Tipperary).

* Nine areas with one-in-eight homes empty (Laois, Kilkenny, Carlow, Louth, Westmeath, Limerick city, Limerick county, south Tipperary and Monaghan)

Dublin city (10.7%), Cork city (11.4%) and Galway city (11.3%) all had between one-in-nine and one-in-10 homes empty, while south Dublin had the lowest vacancy rate in the country at just 5.5%.

In a sign of the times, house vacancy rates were not counted on the census until 2006.

Ireland’s property level soared between April 2006 and April 2011, from 1.76 million buildings to 2.004 million.

This growth represents 234,562 per year, or 642 every single day.

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