600 ghost estates a legacy of Ireland's failed property boom
Shocking new figures released in Ireland on Wednesday show that more than 600 housing estates in Ireland are left practically empty as the property boom hits rock bottom.
In rural areas, where a high percentage of these housing estates are located, people are afraid for the future.
Rita O 'Connor, a housewife and mother, lives in a 36-house estate in a small town in Co. Longford with her two children and husband.
The O'Connors' purchased their four-bedroom semi-detached home three years ago from builder’s plans. They paid €340,000 for the house. Last November, the house adjoined to theirs sold for €235,000,
"Can you believe the price went down more than €100,000 in two years," she said.
"Buying this house was one of the biggest mistakes we could have made. Although it's a nice house and the area is good, there are only seven homes occupied. The rest are left idol," said O'Connor.
Youths from neighboring housing estates are using one of the half finished houses as a place for parties and O'Connor isn't happy.
"Only last weekend the guards had to be called because there was about 20 young fellas and girls in the house drinking and doing God knows what else.
"Now I'm afraid that they will start breaking into the homes that are being lived in," O'Connor added.
O'Connor and her husband, a bank associate, have considered moving but because of their sky-high mortgage and recent devaluation of their home they won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
"We just want a small house in the county with no one disturbing us but that won't be happening for a while," she added.
Frank Coogan, a single man who recently bought a three-bedroom semi-detached house in a large housing development in Limerick said he is happy that a lot of the houses around him are vacant.
"In my section of the estate their are 58 houses and on my last count 28 of them were vacant but I'm glad," he said.
“It means less traffic on the road and more parking spaces, less noise on the street at night and no trouble from youngsters in the area."
Coogan, an entrepreneur, said he hopes it remains that way for a while