Thousands of empty homes could be refurbished at a “reasonable” price to help ease the housing crisis, according to a new report.
Some 34,000 of the 167,000 empty properties could be renovated, according to a report by the Hardware Association Ireland, published yesterday.
His plan, Empty Homes: Unlocking The Opportunity, aims to ease the housing crisis by making refurbishing empty homes more affordable and bringing a large proportion of Ireland’s empty homes back into service. HAI Chief Martin Markey said the measure could help solve the housing crisis. He said: “We have a huge stock of empty houses just waiting to be renovated, so this is a huge opportunity that we want to unlock.
“There is an urgent need to tackle the problem of vacant housing, not only to help solve the housing crisis, but also to rejuvenate towns and villages across Ireland. Our proposals are really carrots and sticks We want to inspire people to bring empty homes back into use and make it financially difficult to maintain unused homes.”
He added that “we have an 8% vacancy rate in a housing crisis, and our towns and villages are being destroyed by rows of empty houses, so we hope the government will consider our proposals.”
Mr Markey continued: “Renovating empty homes has the added benefit of being affordable and their carbon emissions are much lower than building a new home.
“There are fewer planning complications and it can also be done much faster than new builds.”
Excluding homes bound by legal issues, Fair Deal homes and homes vacant before 2016, the HAI estimates that there are 34,000 empty homes that could be refurbished at a reasonable price.
The aim of the plan is to get more empty homes back into service by making the process affordable for first-time buyers.
The main proposals of the HAI plans include the extension of the purchase assistance program for people who buy and renovate an empty property, subsidies and tax incentives for the renovation and modernization of empty houses, tax penalties for owners of derelict properties and assistance in converting derelict commercial units into homes.