Housing should be new government’s priority
Published 20/02/2016 | 02:30
It seems perverse that we have come from a crash precipitated by a construction bubble to a situation where there is such a housing shortage that renting, let alone buying a home, is now a major problem.
Young people find themselves tethered at every turn, as we reveal today, in their attempts to get onto the property ladder. Yet, instead of it being at the core of the election campaign, it seldom figures as an issue, despite the fact that is causing hardship right across our society.
There is scarcely a county in the country that doesn’t have hopelessly long housing waiting lists.
And then there are the hundreds sleeping in the streets.
There is an acute shortage of houses. Where most estimates suggest about 25,000 new homes are required annually to meet demand, the number delivered last year stood at just over 12,500.
Several interesting and novel solutions have been suggested, such as that from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, which proposes using existing vacant space in towns and cities, with financial incentives to develop ‘living above the shop’ accommodation. It is not a problem that can quickly be fixed but that is no reason why it should be ignored; and it is one that should top the agenda for any future government.