Ireland 10th in the world for proportion of empty homes

A new study has revealed that Ireland ranks 10th in the world for the highest proportion of vacant homes, according to a recent article in the Irish Times.

The research was carried out by the UK price comparison website and found that 9.1 per cent of the State’s housing stock (some 183,312 units) are classified as vacant.

The report said that homelessness was a huge global problem, with an estimated 100 million people currently homeless, which made the fact that millions of homes around the world lie empty all the more shocking.

OECD data

The researchers analysed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) data to find out what countries make up the largest proportion of the total housing stock.

World-wide, Japan has the highest vacancy rate, with 13.6 percent of its 60 million homes unoccupied, which is put down to the country’s ageing population and falling birth rate. Japan also imposes hefty taxes on second homes, which might discourage people from inheriting their relatives’ properties when they die.

In Europe, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus has the highest level of vacancy (12.5 per cent). The report pointed out that many island’s empty homes are located in the ghost town of Varosha, a previous tourist hot spot that was abandoned during the Turkish invasion in 1974.

Ireland higher than France and England

After Cyprus comes Hungary at 12.3 percent, the US and Brazil both at 11.1 percent, and Finland at 10.7 percent. Ireland’s 9.1 percent ranks it above other European countries such as France with 7.8 percent and England at 0.9 percent.

The study also looked at the countries that have the most empty homes compared to the homeless population. Ireland’s homeless population was 5,873 at the time of the analysis – this means that only 3.2 percent of its empty homes would be needed to house every homeless person in the country. In this category, Ireland ranked eighth.

Figures from the 2016 census showed there were 183,312 empty units, excluding holiday homes, across Ireland in that year, with up to 90,000 of these in urban areas. The government has considered introducing a vacant property tax, but it would need to collect the data on vacancy levels. Vacancy rates can be hard to work out as homes can be vacant on a temporary basis for various reasons.

Finders International service traces owners

Finders International can trace the beneficiaries to unclaimed property, land and assets as well as heirs to estates and funds. Homes can lie empty when the owner of a property passes away and no-one knows who the next of kin is. The owner might have been the last surviving member of their family, might never married or had children

Using its resources, Finders Ireland can locate the entitled relatives of the deceased owners of derelict properties, which in turn means they can be sold, developed and reintroduced to the housing market. You can report a derelict/empty property here.