Donegal’s housing stock grew by 2% between 2016 and 2022

Census figures released this morning show housing stock in Donegal grew by 2% from just under 84,000 to just under 86,000 between April 2016 and April 2022. That compares to a national rise of 5%.

The number of vacant dwellings decreased by 18% to 9,615, while the number of holiday homes rose by 11% to 12,485.

On today’s Nine til Noon Show, CSO statistician Brendan Murphy discussed the figures with Greg Hughes…………..

CSO release in full –


Results for Donegal

Housing Stock

Between April 2016 and April 2022, housing stock in the county grew by 2% from 83,931 to 85,990. The number of vacant dwellings decreased by 18% from 11,704 to 9,615 and the number of holiday homes rose by 11% from 11,288 to 12,485. Nationally, the housing stock grew by more than 5% from 2,003,645 to 2,112,121. The number of vacant dwellings fell by almost 20,000 (-11%) to 163,433 and the number of holiday homes rose by 8% from 62,148 to 66,956. 

It is important to note that a dwelling classified as vacant for census purposes does not necessarily imply that it is available for re-use. Census vacancy is essentially a point in time measure which may be different to other reported measures of vacancy which may focus more on longer term vacancy. For more information on the census definition of vacancy, please see Editor’s Notes below.

Housing Tenure (Owners and Renters)

In April 2022, 43,107 of homes were owner-occupied in Donegal, compared with 42,210 in April 2016. The number of homes owned with a mortgage or loan fell by 10% from 16,335 to 14,712 since Census 2016 while the number of homes owned outright (without a loan or mortgage) increased by 10%, from 25,875 to 28,395. Homes rented from private landlords showed a 13% increase from 7,393 to 8,377. Nationally, 66% of homes were owner occupied. Some 531,207 homes were owned with a mortgage or loan, while almost 680,000 homes were owned without a mortgage or loan, which was up 11% from 2016. More than 330,000 homes were rented from a private landlord, an increase of 7% since 2016.

There was a significant increase of 83% (up to almost 17,000 households) in the number of over 65s renting from a private landlord in the State. In Donegal, the number of homes rented in the 65 and over age group was 632 (which was a 77% increase). In the 60 to 64 age group, it was up 71% compared with 69% nationally.

Census 2022 shows that by the age of 35, more than half of householders in Donegal owned their own home (with or without a mortgage or loan). Nationally this age was 36. This age, which marks the changeover between home ownership and renting, has been increasing over time, up from 26 years in 1991, 27 years in 2002, 28 years in 2006, 32 years in 2011, and 35 years in 2016. 

Rent Increases

Renters have continued to face large increases in the amount of rent they pay. Between the 2016 and 2022 censuses, the average weekly rent paid to a private landlord in Donegal in April 2022 was €134, which was a 29% increase on 2016. The average weekly rent paid to a private landlord (at national level) rose to €273, up €73 (37%). This was more than double the rate of increase (17%) between 2011 and 2016.


Many properties classed as vacant in the census may only be vacant for a short period of time and for a wide variety of reasons including homes for sale, rent, new build or renovation, owner in a nursing home, etc.  However, there were more than 3,581 dwellings classed as vacant both in the 2016 and 2022 censuses in Donegal, which could be an indication of a longer-term vacancy status. Nationally the figure was just under 48,000.

The Census definition of a vacant dwelling is a point in time indicator taken on census night which in these cases means that the dwellings were vacant on the census nights for both 2016 and 2022. (For more information on the census definition of vacancy, please see the Editors notes below).

Data from New Household Questions

Census 2022 included new household questions on the number of working smoke alarms and how we use renewable energy sources in our homes. Donegal had 2,150 homes with no smoke alarms. Homes with solar panels amounted to 2,822 which was 5% of occupied dwellings in the county.Nationally, almost 72,000 homes had no smoke alarms and 119,300 or 6% of occupied homes had solar panels fitted.