Drop in vacant properties 'needs to be double that level'

The vacancy rate dropped to 3.9% in the 12 months to December 2023
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.05 23 Jan 2024

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Drop in vacant properties 'nee...

Drop in vacant properties 'needs to be double that level'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.05 23 Jan 2024

Share this article

A slight drop in the number of vacant and derelict properties around the country is welcome - but things need to improve at double that pace.

The vacancy rate dropped 0.1 percentage point to 3.9% in the 12 months to December 2023, according to the latest GeoDirectory Residential Buildings Report.

This is the second consecutive report in which the residential vacancy rate has dipped below 4%.


It remains the lowest recorded by GeoDirectory since reporting started in 2013, with 81,449 vacant units identified nationwide.

The highest vacancy rates were in Leitrim (12%), Mayo (10.7%) and Roscommon (10.4%).

The vacancy rate in Dublin was 1%, the lowest in the country, followed by Kildare (1.1%), Meath (2.4%) and Waterford (2.5%).

GeoDirectory Source: GeoDirectory

Sherry Fitzgerald Managing Director Marian Finnegan told Newstalk Breakfast this is a step in the right direction.

"It's positive news across the board, really, when you're looking at a housing crisis," she said.

"There was just under 82,000 properties defined as derelict as of December 2023.

"This is a positive trend line - vacancy rate now coming down below 4%, which is positive.

"We're seeing higher vacancy in rural Ireland - not surprising - and lower vacancy levels in Dublin".

Ms Finnegan said a Government grant for derelict properties is likely contributing to the reduction.

"The challenge with the derelict properties is they require a very significant investment, and that can be a worry for a potential purchaser.

"The grant for renewing these properties is a positive step.

"When you've a got a housing crisis as deep as ours every new unit is valuable."

'Baby steps'

Ms Finnegan said the vacancy level really needs to improve at a faster pace.

"A movement upwards of less than 1% in our stock is a very minor movement towards a recovery," she said.

"It's going in the right direction, but we really need to be seeing double that level for us to be coming on here and saying, 'This is fantastic news'.

"It's moving [in] baby steps.

"We do have vacant properties, and they should be renewed, but they're not the solution to the housing crisis," she added.

The report found over 22,777 residential buildings were under construction across the State last December.

Of the total number of residential buildings under construction, 15.7% were in Dublin.

After Dublin, building levels were highest in Cork (12%), Kildare (11.9%) and Meath (6.2%).

Main image: A vacant property in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Picture by: Josh Crosbie/Newstalk

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