Much has been written of the current Irish housing crisis. Homes are being constructed but not enough to meet the demand. Meanwhile, prices and rents have increased dramatically. The result is many Irish being priced out of the market. This trend has drawn the attention of many groups and the Irish government as well.
A great deal of discussion has been had regarding how to best address this crisis. The reality is that the current state of housing in Ireland is simply untenable. As such, it stands that there will be rather dramatic shifts in the market in the coming decade. These shifts will reshape Ireland’s housing development.
Build to Rent Sector
While much of the focus on housing is on home ownership, the reality is that a probable solution to the crisis involves build to rent. Given the high cost of homes in Ireland and the high standards of construction that cause higher prices, it is simply not feasible to build residences for owner-occupiers in areas outside of Dublin.
Thus, it is likely that a significant build to rent sector will emerge in cities and towns throughout the country. Such a program would provide much needed supply of residences. While some critics view that build to rent projects deprive home ownership opportunities, the reality is that it simply provides an additional inventory to the market.
One of the ways that Irish housing vastly differs from that of many other European countries is a lack of densification. However, with large population change predicted in the coming decades, it is becoming clear that a suburban housing plan will not serve to fix the current housing problems.
Many experts in the city planning field are noting the need for development of high-density walkable neighborhoods where residents live, work, and socialize together. The goal is to connect these areas with strong infrastructure and public transportation in order to optimize efficiency. Architects note that better land use in regional cities could accommodate populations of 300,000, all within 15 minutes of their major train stations.
Solutions Outside Dublin
The writing on the wall is clear: solving Ireland’s housing crisis means looking outside of Dublin. The current situation in the capital has yielded high costs and congestion for city dwellers and extensive commutes for suburbanites. This is not an effective solution long-term.
While experts predict that Dublin will continue to grow, 75% of Irish population growth is earmarked outside of the greater Dublin area. In fact, the projections for the future of Ireland
involve 50% growth of regional cities. This means that significant housing development will need to be undertaken in the near future in order to promote greater affordable housing throughout the country.
Reduction in Building Costs
A major aspect driving the current housing crisis is the extensive cost of construction in Ireland. In fact, research has shown that English cities such as Manchester and Birmingham have homes nearly €100,000 cheaper than outside Dublin.
Ireland’s housing standards far exceed those of Great Britain and most of Europe. While well-intended, this vastly increases the price of homes, rendering additions to the market as largely unaffordable for many Irish. There is mounting pressure on the government to act to remedy this situation, suggesting that the next decade could see vastly reduced costs of construction that could stimulate the industry.
The current housing crisis will drive multifaceted changes throughout Ireland. The next decade will see housing solutions that focus outside of the greater Dublin area, efforts by the government to reduce costs through cutting back regulations, increasing densification, and a focus on a growing build to rent sector. These changes will significantly shift the traditional housing market in the next ten years.