Ireland needs 21,000 new houses a year, but smaller homes are required

Demand for new housing In Ireland will continue to increase in accordance with population trends and a reduction in household sizes with 21,000 new homes needed per year for the next three years.

Details from the National Housing Statement by the Housing Agency points out that the population is currently at its highest for 150 years at 4.5 million and demand for homes is high as a result.

It also shows that affordability is an issue for those looking to buy in the greater Dublin area.
Overall house prices have increased across the country with the median price nationally at €152,000, up from €140,000 in 2013. In Dublin it is €260,000, up from €220,000 in 2013.

Rental prices have also increased, particularly for apartments. Nationally rents were 6.9% higher in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014 with growth of 9.6% in Dublin and 5.3% outside Dublin.

Mortgage arrears and negative equity remain a serious concern, the report says, with a total of 110,366 mortgages in arrears at the end of 2014 but it adds that changes mean that smaller homes will be needed because household requirements have changed and the average household size has fallen dramatically.

‘Proportional household composition has changed and we see an increase in smaller households and a corresponding decrease in larger households. The average household size in the country has fallen significantly over the last nine years from an average of 3.04 in 2002 to 2.77 in 2011. Based on an assessment of regional trends, it has been calculated that it will fall further to 2.67 by 2018 so the majority of new housing will now accommodate fewer people,’ it says.

Minister for State with responsibility for Housing, Paudie Coffey, said that the report provides a much needed analysis of the true picture of housing supply and demand in Ireland along with future projections, allowing for emerging imbalances to be identified and rectified at an early stage.

‘It contributes greatly to an overall understanding of housing needs in Ireland, ensuring that the most up to date and comprehensive data is available relating to current housing supply and emerging needs. Importantly, this data will help ensure policy responses are evidence based and needs led, as we endeavour to build sustainable communities for the present and future generations,’ he added.

According to Conor Skehan, chairman of the Housing Agency, the data is now in place to ensure housing needs are met through a whole suite of initiatives which are underway including those addressing issues such as housing supply, housing land availability, and provision of social housing

‘Keeping those initiatives on target requires accurate data and progress reports on extent to which these needs are being met. This is the first of a series of annual reports to deliver a state of the nation picture of what housing needs are and how we are addressing housing supply,’ he explained.