Monday 25 September 2017

Deflating housing bubble must bring realistic prices

Politicians need to be honest over remedies for the dysfunctional property market, writes Colm McCarthy

Problems building: With few properties available in many parts of Dublin for much under €350,000, home ownership is becoming a distant dream for today’s younger generation. Stock photo: Deposit photos
Problems building: With few properties available in many parts of Dublin for much under €350,000, home ownership is becoming a distant dream for today’s younger generation. Stock photo: Deposit photos
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

Friday's report from Daft.ie, urging changes in the regulation of the housing market to counter the latest jump in prices, should have come as no surprise at RTE's sprawling Donnybrook campus in leafy Dublin 4. The State broadcaster has just concluded a deal to sell an 8.6-acre portion of the site, which is 6km from the city centre, for the astonishing figure of €108m, without planning permission.

The developers hope to build 500 residential units, almost all of which will be apartments. The price works out at €12.5m per acre and equates to €216,000 site cost per unit before a planning adviser has been engaged, much less a sod turned. It will be many years before the first home is occupied and hard to see how the cheapest will sell for under half a million.

RTE's Donnybrook site is one of many examples of profligate and wasteful land-use policies in the Dublin area, where the few available sites are again commanding bubble valuations. The immediate area includes UCD's huge Belfield campus, an 18-hole golf course and an ugly sprawling bus garage. Every site that changes hands mobilises local residents, assured of generous exposure on RTE, to oppose the granting of planning permission, even in areas that enjoy residential zoning and are well-served by public transport.

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