What is the sound of a housing crash? An eerie silence. That's the sound that reigns in many suburbs in Ireland, a land of unoccupied and half-built houses.
There are between 300,000 and 345,000 vacant houses and apartments in a country with only 4.5 million people, according to two recently published university studies. If those figures are correct, it means some 15% to 17% of all dwellings in the country are presently unoccupied.
Irish motorists have become all too familiar with the empty, dimly-lit "ghost estates" just off main roads on the outskirts of cities and towns.
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