CORK city has the second highest number of vacant housing units in the country with almost 4,300 properties lying idle.
The figures from the 2016 Census reveal that the Cork county district has 15,645 empty dwellings with 4,292 vacant units in the city.
The city has a vacancy rate of 7.7% and almost 1180 properties have not been lived in for five years or more.
Over 5,850 units have been idle in the county for five years or more with a vacancy rate of 9% - a total 15,645 properties.
Cork county is second only to Dublin in terms of empty units, while Cork city has more vacant houses than Limerick and Galway combined.
The housing need in Cork city is calculated at 5,328 houses, with 3,106 needed in the county.
Last week, Daft.ie published their rental report for quarter one of this year. Average rents in Cork city have increased 13.1% to €806 per month for a one bed apartment. A comparable property in Galway would cost an average of €735 and just €560 in Waterford.
The average price for all rental properties in Cork is now €1,107. Fewer than 800 homes were available to rent in the entirety of Munster up to May 1.
Cork North Central Councillor Fiona Ryan said urgent Government action is needed as the demand for rental properties has reached peak and many families are struggling to find affordable accommodation.
“I think it's very useful to have the Census data right now to expose how severe the crisis is in terms of how many property owners and landlords feel it's acceptable to allow houses to remain vacant for that long,” she said.
“This issue cannot be resolved without State intervention. Last week's Daft report shows that rents are now €1,100 in Cork city and highlights the demand to supply crisis and unless fines are imposed on property owners who leave property vacant during a housing emergency, there will be no incentive for them to put their properties back on the market.
“Many property owners are playing a waiting game where they are hoping to get the best return when they eventually sell the property. It's easier to sell if there are no tenants attached to the property. Given the housing emergency it is appropriate for the Government to step in at this point. It's not enough to simply have a register to encourage, softly, property owners to open up these houses to the public," she added.