A report from the Department of the Environment says there are more than 2,800 so-called ghost estates in the country. The report identifies a county-by-county inventory of unfinished estates. An expert group will now seek solutions to deal with the problems of such estates.

The survey was carried out by the department from May to September. It shows that building had started on 120,000 homes in ghost estates.

77,000 of these were completed and occupied, while 33,000 were completed and vacant or nearly completed. 10,000 others were in early stages of construction.

An expert group is now being set up by the Government to advise on how best to deal with the problems of ghost estates. Membership of that group will include representatives of local authorities, the banking and construction sectors, NAMA and building professionals.

The group will advise on practical solutions to ensure satisfactory completion or resolution of problems with unfinished housing developments. Its first task is to publish within the next three weeks a draft code of practice on how this could be done .