This publication contains preliminary data from Census 2022 as published in June 2022, which has now been superseded. To view the final data with complete and up-to-date Census 2022 information, please refer to the Census 2022 Main Results publications.
A total of 2,124,590 permanent dwellings were counted in Ireland during Census 2022. This is an increase of over 120,000 units (6%) between 2016 and 2022.
The number of occupied households increased by over 150,000 (9%) to 1.86 million while the number of vacant dwellings fell by over 16,500 (-9%) to 166,752.
There was a large drop of 35% to 33,177 in the number of dwellings that were temporarily unoccupied on Census Night as the residents were away from home.
The amount of holiday homes that were unoccupied on Census Night rose by nearly 4,000 units, from 62,148 to 66,135, a rise of 6%.
|Table 4.1 Housing stock, 2011-2022|
|State totals||2011||2016||2022||Actual change 2016 - 2022||% change 2016 - 2022|
|Unoccupied holiday homes||59,395||62,148||66,135||3,987||6|
There were increases in the housing stock in all counties. As can be seen in Map 4.1 the largest increases were concentrated in the east.
In Kildare and Meath the stock of habitable dwellings went up by 12%, Wicklow was up 9% and in Louth and Dublin the housing stock rose by 7%. In these areas, the number of dwellings that were occupied went up at a similar rate. These are all areas with some of the lowest levels of vacancy in the State.
In contrast, there were more modest increases of 3% in the housing stock in counties Tipperary, Leitrim, Roscommon, Cavan and Donegal. However in these areas, the numbers of occupied dwellings increased at more the twice the rate of the housing stock. There are corresponding drops in vacancy rates in these areas as can be seen in Map 4.1.
On an annual basis the increase in housing stock is equivalent to an average 1% rise per year between 2016 and 2022 while the population has risen by 1.2% per year over the 6 years.
Figure 4.1 shows relatively high levels of both population and housing stock growth in several Leinster counties. For example in Kildare the population increased by 11% between 2016 and 2022, while the housing stock grew by 12%.
In many rural areas the difference between population growth and housing growth was much more pronounced. For example in Leitrim the population increased by over 3,000 (10%) while the housing stock went up by just over 600 (3%) and in Roscommon the population increased by over 8% while the housing stock rose by 3%.
|% change housing stock||% change population|
At a State level the Census vacancy rate has fallen to less than 8% in 2022, down from over 9% in 2016 and 12% in 2011.
There was a contrast in Census vacancy rates between counties with predominantly urban populations and more rural counties and how they have changed since 2016.
Taking Meath for example we can see the Census vacancy rate fell by less than 1 percentage point from under 7% in 2016 to 6% in 2022.
Whereas in Roscommon the Census vacancy rate fell by 4 percentage points from 17% in 2016 to 13% in 2022.
A dwelling is classed as vacant by census enumerators if it is unoccupied on Census Night, is not used as a seasonal holiday home and is not usually inhabited by occupants who are temporarily away from home on Census Night.
The Census definition of a vacant dwelling is a point in time indicator taken on Census Night as to whether the property was inhabited or not on Sunday 3 April 2022.
The Census vacancy definition has been used over several censuses which enables comparisons over time.
Dwellings being vacant for census purposes does not necessarily entail that they are available for re-use or to house other persons. Census vacancy contains many dwellings that may be unoccupied for a relatively short period of time.
Preliminary data on dwellings that may be vacant for longer time periods is included below
The lowest levels of vacancy can be seen around Dublin, along the east coast and around the cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. The highest levels of vacancy can be seen in the northwest of Ireland and along the west coast.
Figure 4.2 shows that rental properties accounted for over 20% (35,380 dwellings) of the vacant residential units identified in the census. This figure included short term lettings and properties that were between lets but may not have been advertised. A further almost 18,000 properties (11%) were for sale. This included dwellings that were sale agreed or recently sold.
Galway City (38%) and Dublin City (30%) were the areas with the highest proportions of vacant rental properties. In contrast, Roscommon (16%), Cork County (16%) and Galway County (17%) had the lowest proportions of vacant rental units.
In Roscommon (25%), Galway County (24%) and Mayo (24%) properties were most often vacant because the owner was deceased. In Galway City (6%) and Fingal (8%) this was much less common.
Properties in the cities were in general less likely to be vacant because the residents had emigrated than for rural dwellings.
Abandoned farmhouses were almost non-existent in urban areas and more common in rural areas such as Leitrim (17%) and Sligo (16%).
For Census 2022, Enumerators were required to record a reason for vacancy for each vacant dwelling in their area. This was done to provide more insight into patterns of vacancy across the country.
In some cases, dwellings may have been vacant for more than one reason. For example a dwelling may have been vacant because the owner was recently deceased and it was for sale at the time of the Census. For reasons of data efficiency, enumerators were required to record only one reason for vacancy for each dwelling.
The Rental Property category contains dwellings that were advertised as being for rent at the time of the Census, as well as short term lettings and properties that were between lets but not currently advertised.
The Other category included dwellings for which the enumerator could not clearly ascertain a reason for vacancy.
Many properties that are classed as vacant in the census may only be vacant for a short period of time. It is possible to provide some insight into the number of dwellings that were vacant for longer time periods by linking individual dwellings across the 2011, 2016 and 2022 censuses. Over 90% of vacant dwellings included in Census 2022 could be linked back to Census 2016 and almost 85% back to Census 2011 as well.
More than 30% (48,387) of the dwellings vacant in 2022 that could be linked were also vacant in 2016. And of these 48,387 dwellings, nearly half (23,483) were also vacant in Census 2011. At a State level, the proportion of dwellings vacant in both Census 2022 and Census 2016 was 2%. In counties along the east coast with large urban populations, the proportion of dwellings vacant in both censuses was about 1%. In more rural counties, particularly in the north west the proportion of dwellings vacant in both censuses varied from between 4 and 7% as can be seen in Map 4.4
There were 104,996 dwellings that were occupied in 2022 and vacant in 2016. Conversely there were 86,030 dwellings that were vacant in 2022 and occupied in 2016.
|Table 4.4 Vacant dwellings across the 2022, 2016 and 2011 censuses|
|County||Housing stock 2022||Occupied in 2022, Vacant in 2016||Vacant in 2022, Occupied in 2016||Vacant dwellings 2022||Vacant in 2022 and 2016||Vacant in 2022 and 2016 (%)||Vacant in 2022, 2016 and 2011||Vacant in 2022, 2016 and 2011 (%)|