Monday 20 November 2017

Lack of homes may cost us FDI as doctorate launched

Kevin Nowlan speaking at the INM Property Business Success Forum
Kevin Nowlan speaking at the INM Property Business Success Forum
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

The lack of rental residential development in central Dublin is fast becoming an issue that could end up damaging Ireland's competitiveness, and ultimately may compromise the country's ability to attract foreign direct investment, according to the head of one of the country's biggest property.

Speaking at the Independent News & Media Property Business Success Forum, Hibernia REIT chief executive Kevin Nowlan said that while new office construction was now in the pipeline, there was still a worrying lack of finance for new residential property in areas near offices such as the CBD.

"The shortage of office space is well documented but in many ways it is as important that residential rental development be accelerated as well," he said.

Financing for new residential construction has been slow to re-emerge since the crash and Mr Nowlan believes the issue is one that now will have to be addressed.

"Many multinationals are bringing staff in from all over the world and those employees want to rent apartments at most 2km from their office," he said.

"If they have to live miles away from work that is a negative and may make recruitment harder and hurt Ireland's place as a destination for foreign direct investment.

"We need to have as many ticks against our name when a multinational compares Ireland to other locations.

"There are certain constraints on planning and construction that should be looked at.

"For example, restrictions such as dual aspect requirements make residential investment economically unattractive and in the city centre one about one in three apartmtne users rent a car sapce yet planners require one space per unit.

"I would hope that government will look closely at those conditions as our design view on residential is too basic and needs to reflect the people occupying those units," Mr Nowlan added.

Mr Nowlan noted that property data has become more important than ever before for the sector, particularly as the state cannot use interest rates to control the market.

The summit also saw the launch of the Irish Independent DIR Doctorate in Property Research by professor Brian Norton, the president of Dublin Institute of Technology.

'The Property Doctorate is a full-time studentship for four years in an area of Property and Built Environment, Architecture and Construction," said Prof Norton.

"It will enable the development of new research in this key, but under-studied part of our economy and will enable the fostering of innovation and taught-leadership in the Built Environment sector.

"The Property Doctorate will contribute to much-needed evidence-based interventions in this sector and will contribute to other contemporary research internationally.

"The doctorate will be filled by international competition," he added.

Independent News & Media's Paul Muldoon added that the doctorate will be fully funded by the Irish Independent Property Programme.

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