Ireland is now home to 2,881 ghost estates according to a new report to be published next month.
A housing policy conference in Dublin has been told of the increase in semi or unoccupied housing developments as the property market struggles.
Colm Ó Ruanaidh, a senior adviser on social housing at the Department of the Environment, told the conference that the count for this year was not yet complete but already there’s an increase from 2,846 last year to 2,881.
A departmental spokesman told the Irish Times that Ó Ruanaidh was working from ‘raw data’ which would be finalized and published next month.
“The additional 35 developments constitute an increase in the number of dwellings in ghost estates from 179,230 last year to 179,900,” said Ó Ruanaidh.
The conference heard that some 230 unfinished developments have met the criteria to benefit from a $7 million fund to address immediate safety concerns on ghost estates.
A guidebook for residents living on unfinished estates is to be published by the government in coming weeks.
Delegates to conference also heard Marian Finnegan, chief economist with Sherry FitzGerald, say that the collapse in Irish housing prices is the worst anywhere in the world since the second World War.
Finnegan warned the market had yet to hit rock bottom and claimed the peak-to-trough fall in prices will end up in the order of 65 to 70 per cent.
She also predicted there would be an average per annum demand for 30,000 homes between now and 2026, given a projected population growth to 5.1 million.
“There will be a recovery in the housing market. There is still some way to go in prices falling,” said Finnegan.