South Dublin County Council is the first local authority to have finished all housing developments within its catchment area, and Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English now wants other local authorities to follow suit during 2017.

The fifth annual progress report and seventh housing survey has revealed an 85% drop in the number of unfinished developments since 2010 (from nearly 3,000 to 420). A total of 248 developments were resolved in 2016 alone, while 2,000 units are currently being utilised for social housing purposes.

Minister Damien English outlined progress by local authorities on resolving unfinished housing estates.

Speaking at the launch of the report, which includes the 2016 National Housing Development Survey results, Minister English said his objective is to resolve all remaining unfinished housing developments especially those within high market demand locations and strive for 100% turnaround.

According to the Minister, the results of the 2016 survey have indicated that the parts of developments that are occupied are, in the vast amount of cases, now well established and finished to a good standard.

“In line with the commitment in Rebuilding Ireland, the Department also intends to engage with the relevant local authorities and stakeholders to explore the range of strategic acquisition options available to local authorities to take up remaining, suitable and required vacant units,” he added.

“In order to progress this action, each local authority will actively seek expressions of interest from developers, receivers etc, in order to acquire vacant or near complete units within appropriate developments for social housing purposes.”

The Minister also signalled that his objective for the following year is “to bring back vacant units into reuse for social housing purposes with the potential acquisition/leasing of 1,300 vacant units as a major objective for 2017”.