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Progress on Ireland Ghost Estates Needs Patience, Minister Says

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July 5 (Bloomberg) -- Ireland has completed work on about 10 percent of its 2,066 unfinished housing projects, so-called ghost estates, and while progress will become more obvious, “patience” is required, according to an official report today.

Some 211 developments have been “effectively resolved,” and 523 are being resolved through action by the developer or bank appointed receivers, a report by Jan O’Sullivan, minister of state for housing, said today. Another 636 sites are the subject of legal enforcement proceedings.

“It is taking time to turn around the many developments,” O’Sullivan said in the report. “Patience will be required. There are complex legal, financial, procedural and construction issues involved. More and more physical evidence of progress will be visible in the year ahead.”

Ireland’s housing boom, which saw real estate prices quadruple in the decade through 2007, has left the country with a housing glut. Since 2007 home prices have plunged 50 percent, unemployment has almost tripled and the government has been forced to rescue banks as loans to property developers soured.

Some 128 of the country’s ghost estates are in category 4, which means they have been classed as abandoned by the developer and have serious public safety issues, according to the report. Of those sites, 29 are in the process of urgent remedial works funded by the National Asset Management Agency, Ireland’s so-called bad bank, the report said.

Last year the government made around 5 million euros ($6.2 million) available to local authorities to help complete works on the sites.

To contact the reporter on this story: Colm Heatley in Belfast at cheatley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Lytle at dlytle@bloomberg.net

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