CORK County Council has reduced its number of vacant properties by more than 50% since the end of last year.
At the end of 2017, 154 council-owned properties were vacant – representing 25 of the local authority's total housing stock. This has been reduced to 74 – now 1% of total housing stock owned by County Hall.
The number of social housing homes vacant for more than six months has also been drastically reduced from 84 down to just 14.
The County Council spent an average of €13,400 refurbishing properties last year, less than half of what was spent by the City Council.
Councillor Seamus McGrath said the figures represent good progress but has called for the local authority to reduce the numbers of vacant homes even further by having a quicker turnaround time from when tenants leave properties and new ones move in.
“It is definitely an improvement and that is very welcome. I and many other councillors raise this on a regular basis. We need to turn around houses and vacant units in a much more timely manner.
“It is going in the right direction but I'm not for a second suggesting there is no room for more improvement.
“We want to continue To push this. We all have individual cases of vacant units that have been sitting there too long and need to be turned around faster. I can cite several examples myself.
“Momentum has to be maintained so the number of vacant units is cut right down. More importantly, the key factor is how long it takes from when a house is handed back to the Council to when that is given to a new tenant.
“Unfortunately that appears to be taking on average six months to happen and that's too long, we need to condense it,” he added.
One property, allocated to a tenant by Cork County Council in 2017, had been vacant for three years. Another council-owned home in Donnybrook in Douglas has been idle for 10 years with the Council unable to obtain funding to restore the property to use as the Government has capped the funding for homes to be refurbished at €30,000.