The property boom that gripped Ireland during the 1990’s and the early part of the new century had a dreadful far-reaching effect when property prices crashed. The leading banks in Ireland had to go cap-in-hand to the Government for a bail-out which in turn bankrupted the economy and resulted in extensive loans being required from the EU/IMF ECB troika.
On a wider perspective the property crash decimated the economy but also caused a lot of problems on a micro level too. Many Irish couples bought starter apartments in the hope that they could move to a bigger house when their family grew. Now stuck in negative equity there are thousands of families who simply cannot afford to move from their unsuitable apartments and are trapped, waiting on the property market to improve before they can sell up and move on.
Worse again is the situation of those families who bought houses and apartments in building schemes and housing estates only for the builder to go bust half way through the build. Now they are surrounded by dozens of unfinished properties and are living in virtual building sites which attract vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
A new report from the Irish Government Department of the Environment has revealed that there are now 1770 unfinished housing developments dotted around the country. Of these 1100 are in a very bad state and are even commercially unviable. While the larger cities have their share of such property developments it is in the midlands and border Counties where the problem is even more obvious. Once quaint towns and villages are now blighted by the remnants of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era of building mania.
It is clear that several of the 1770 housing schemes will have to be completely demolished and returned to a ‘green field’ state, perhaps providing some employment for the now unemployed construction staff who helped to build them in the first place.