Tuesday 17 October 2017

Building new homes alone is not the answer to our housing issues

We must manage and prioritise better, writes Conor Skehan, outgoing chairman of the Housing Agency

A smarter approach is needed to solve housing shortage Photo: Fergal Phillip
A smarter approach is needed to solve housing shortage Photo: Fergal Phillip

If it was up to me: As I leave behind the position of chairman of the Housing Agency I can finally indulge in speaking my own mind about what, in my personal opinion, should be done to address Ireland's housing issues.

The price of buying or renting a home in Ireland is rapidly increasing. This is a normal development in a country recovering from one of the worst economic crashes ever experienced by a western democracy - a crash caused, lest we forget, by really bad housing practices and policies, caused by making concessions that served the interests of development and financial groups.

For example, the Housing Agency advise we will need a minimum of 81,118 homes by 2020, about 35,000 of those in Dublin. We need about 20,000-25,000 per annum as well as an initial number to accommodate 'pent-up demand'. That is not opinion, but data from the agency with responsibility for providing a national statement of housing supply and demand.

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