We thought you might like to use this Friday’s post as a chance to get some ideas off your chest.
Here is the issue: There are lots of empty houses out there – 179,000 of them in 2,881 ghost estates for a start, according to the Department of the Environment. The Central Statistics Office puts the figure at 294,202 across the country. Meanwhile Savills claim (that in Dublin) empties have dropped 50%! From 11,000 in early 2010 to 5,400 now.
There is a ‘natural vacancy rate’ in any market, generally this may run anywhere from 4-9%, we don’t actually know the natural vacancy rate in Ireland so we can take a figure near the lower bound at 5% (which takes c. 100,000 houses out of the ’empties’ figure) and in doing so we are not far off the Department of Environment figures, it also puts the CSO figures in that region as well.
So what do we do? Or perhaps, what would YOU do?
I’ll start the ball rolling with a few ideas….
For empty apartments, the simplest thing to do is knock 2 apartments into 1 large one. People simply have no appetite for the size of apartment that was built during the boom. But if they were much bigger? Then you might get some interset, it would cause a loss for NAMA but that isn’t to say that such a loss wouldn’t arise anyway. If you were able to buy an 160sqm (c.1,725 sq ft.) apartment it may become an attractive proposition, that’s a bigger than the average house and with the reduced maintenance of ameneties (assuming management company are operational) it could be an attractive choice, it would also lower density in these developments meaning the stock available gets used up, there are additional car parking spaces etc.
Or what about the next idea…
We often hear about crowded ER’s in hospitals, why not offer visas to anybody in the world for 5 years if they are a doctor and then set up regional 24/7/365 clinics where the GP’s practice around the clock. In return they get a rent free house and the average industrial wage. Doctor visits would cost a nominal €5 and if they stay for the 5 years they can apply for citizenship and keep the house at that point (with perhaps a ‘no sale’ clause for a certain amount of time built in). The ongoing cost of the clinic could be supported by a site value tax. All you do is determine that there is one clinic for ever (for instance) 20,000 people, and that catchment area then becomes the area that gets levied, this spreads it out over larger areas in the country and more tightly populated areas in cities.
These are just two ideas of things we could be doing, we hope you have a few as well, it’s an exciting topic (don’t forget to critique either!).
Now, lets get those thinking caps on!