According to a report from Reuters there are over 620 practically empty residential estates around Ireland, a haunting legacy of the former Celtic Tiger's property boom and bust.
New figures show that developers have now started working on another 11,000 new homes in the past 15 months. It is estimated that massive overbuilding that went on in Ireland during better economic times has left 300,000 apartments and homes empty.
As the country continues the slow climb out of recession and the cost of rescuing lenders mounts these ghost estates are a stark reminder of the wastefulness that went on during the Celtic Tiger.
The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) was set up to cleanse commercial banks such as Irish Nationwide, Allied Irish Bank and Anglo Irish of the property loans. These loans are worth $106 billion. Essentially NAMA will become the country’s biggest landlord via non-performing loans it buys.
The Reuters article said: “It is still unclear if stalled projects can be rescued or what avenues of recompense, if any, may be available to buyers...The government is considering options like social housing. But it could also wipe the slate clean and bulldoze some estates.”
Ciaran Cuffe, a minister of state whose portfolio includes planning, heritage and horticulture said: “The ones closer to Dublin will probably be occupied over the next few years, but I think particularly in some counties far away from Dublin, we'll see hundreds of units vacant for a long period of time.”
"In some cases we could mothball and wait until the economy picks up but we've also got to look at finding innovative solutions to find new uses for these units."
There are an estimated 300,000 unsold or unfinished residential homes in Ireland almost 200,000 homeowners who face negative equity.
A home owner interviewed by Reuters said “I am stuck with a house that nobody would ever consider buying, and I will be in debt for the rest of my life.”
The mother-of-two said that she would be exceedingly luck to get 200,000 euros for the property, although she bought it three years ago for 320,000.
“I feel like I’ve been conned,”she added.
Earlier this week a survey showed that house prices in Ireland had dropped by 35 percent since their peak in 2006. The National Institute for Regional Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) called on the Irish government for an independent inquiry into the "catastrophic failure" of the planning system.
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