We’ve been working to try and identify the location of ghost estate developments around the country. To do this we have been using a script to mine an address database that records details on 1.98m residential units in the state to identify all properties built post-2005 where 10 or more units share the same estate/street address and more than 50 percent are coded as either vacant or under-construction. We have then been through the resulting data to clean it with respect to multiple entries relating to the same estate and undertaken some preliminary cross-checking with house sale websites.

The overall number of post-2005 developed ghost estates identified by this method is 621, and in total includes 19,312 units, 11670 are vacant and 3823 are under-construction (average vacant/under-construction rate of 80%). These figures are preliminary results and need to be validated through ground-truthing, but we feel it is an accurate portrayal of the data as recorded in the database. If anything, we believe that this is probably an under-count as we know that the database under-records vacancy and under-construction as they have to maintain this status for quite a while to be coded as such and they are still in a rolling process of identifying vacant properties. There will also be some noise in the data because they are only collected twice a year in urban areas and once a year in rural areas meaning that units in some of the estates listed will have been sold although this might not move them under the 50% threshold.

There are 86 estates with more than 50 properties (of which more than 50% are vacant/under-construction), 253 with between 21-50 properties, and 282 between 10-20 properties. The number would certainly increase if we were to change the parameters down to a 30% vacancy/under-construction rate, depending on how we want to define a ghost estate. As the map reveals, using this method of calculation, there are multiples of ghost estates in every county in the state, ranging in size from quite small developments to some consisting of tens of units.

Justin Gleeson, Rob Kitchin, Peter Foley