A Discussion paper prepared by the Housing Agency for the Oireachtas Housing and Homelessness Committee has shown that over 20% of houses in Roscommon are currently vacant.
The calculations, which include flats and apartments but exclude Holiday Homes, show that the problem is particularly bad in the north of the county – see graphic above. It is no coincidence that this area benefited from Rural Renewal Tax Incentive Schemes during the construction boom.
Leitrim has the highest vacancy rate at just over 24% with Longford, Cavan and Mayo similar to Roscommon at approximately 20%.
The report, which uses information from the 2011 Census shows that there are 230,056 unoccupied residential properties (excluding holiday homes) across the state and almost three-quarters (73%) are houses and the remainder are flats / apartments.
There are a substantial number of vacant properties in our major urban areas with 7,995
vacant houses and 16,321 vacant apartments in Dublin city centre. Similarly, in areas of Cork and
Galway city the vacancy rate is in excess of 25% of the total housing stock. There are just over
50,000 vacant homes in Cork, Dublin and Galway cities and suburbs combined.
The authors have examined how other counties have dealt with the issue and suggest that there is an opportunity for policy intervention – either tax incentives to refurbish properties or higher property tax rates aimed at encouraging owners to make their vacant property available for sale or rent.
Commenting on the report Michael Fitzmaurice TD said that he believed that overall the figures include houses that have been re-possessed which are vacant for over a year, saying that these houses have to be made available as part of the solution to the housing crisis. He went on to say “I have heard speculation today that tax incentives may become available to refurbish these houses and that would be welcome, however the one thing we have to guard against is that we do not want to cause another housing bubble like we had in the recent past.”
The full report can be downloaded here