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NI Housing Unfitness levels reach record low

Published: Thur, 6 Apr 2017
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Unfitness in Northern Ireland’s housing stock is at its lowest level since surveys began over 40 years ago, according to statistics released this week by the Housing Executive.
According to the preliminary figures from the 2016 Northern Ireland House Conditions Survey, only 2% of dwellings here are unfit for occupation, compared with 20% in 1974.
In total, there are now 740,000 dwellings in Northern Ireland.
In comparison to 2006, overall vacancy rates across all tenures have decreased from 40,300 to fewer than 27,000 in 2016.
Rates of vacancy in social housing sits at approximately 1% of housing stock, compared with 3.4% of vacant owner occupied houses (over 16,000 properties) and almost 7% of the vacant properties in the private rented sector (over 9300 properties).
Clark Bailie, our Chief Executive said: “In 1974, 20% of all houses in Northern Ireland were deemed unfit for habitation.
“In Belfast, the situation was even worse, with over 25% of homes requiring either intervention or demolition.
“At that time, Northern Ireland was found to have some of worst housing conditions in Europe.
“Now, that figure stands at just 2% across all tenures – owner occupied, privately rented or social housing.
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“This highlights the importance of intervention in terms of grants, measures to tackle fuel poverty and investment in maintenance and repairs.
“Since it was formed, the Housing Executive has played a major role in tackling unfitness in both the private and social sector.
“It is also pleasing to see the low levels of vacancies in the social sector, given the high housing need across Northern Ireland.”
The preliminary report also points to the increase in urbanisation in Northern Ireland: in 2016, 73% of properties were in urban areas, compared to 69% in 2009.
For more information and to download the preliminary findings, go to: