The interim report claims owners are refusing to sell empty properties in the hope that prices will increase.
The interim report is part of a pilot initiative of six rural towns, which have been asked to develop proposals to encourage more people to live in their town centres.
The Department of Rural Affairs has been told of a number of common issues which show the difficulty in increasing the rural population.
According to The Irish Examiner they include the high cost of refurbishing vacant buildings, and difficulty in identifying property owners of abandoned homes or shops which could be converted.
Where owners are known, they often refuse to sell or refurbish these properties because they believe they will be worth more in the future or want to keep it for sentimental reasons.
The lack of amenities, traffic congestion and a negative perception of living in these areas were also identified as issues.
A further, more comprehensive report which will include recommendations is due by the end of the year.