Local authorities will aim to buy more vacant and derelict properties in town centres under plans being worked on at the Department of Housing.

The Urban Regeneration Fund will be used to acquire properties that are not being used by their owners.

The Department is planning to make a "rolling fund" available to councils to buy these buildings later this year.

A majority of the properties purchased would then be made available for residential use.

This plan will focus in particular on streets where there has already been a substantial investment in what are called "public realm improvements".

The details of this initiative were contained in briefing material for the new Junior Housing Minister Kieran O'Donnell.