Friday 22 September 2017

Housebuilding should be based on need not profit

It is time to examine new and more affordable ways of providing private and social housing. Photo: Frank McGrath.
It is time to examine new and more affordable ways of providing private and social housing. Photo: Frank McGrath.

Lorcan Sirr

The manner in which private housing is provided is generally haphazard, piecemeal and chaotic. Social housing provision isn't much better. But it needn't be this way if we think about housing in the same way as we think about roads, hospitals and other large-scale infrastructure.

In January of this year, about 350 private houses were being built in Dublin, the largest development being around 100 units. Across the country, this pattern of small-scale building is repeated, and at the end of this year the final number of private houses and apartments is not going to put a significant dent in the average 16,000 or so the country needs each year. Tens of thousands of social houses are also needed.

In conjunction with the Central Bank's recent lending cap, it is time to examine new and more affordable ways of providing private and social housing.

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