Thursday 12 December 2019

Boom developers back building new homes in Dublin

Gannon, Mulryan and Doherty back in market

Gerry Gannon
Gerry Gannon
Pat Doherty
Sean Mulryan
Sean Mulryan
Gerry Gannon

Nick Webb

THREE of Ireland's biggest Celtic Tiger-era property developers are returning to build new homes for the first time since the market crashed in 2008.

Gerry Gannon's Gannon Homes built thousands of new houses during the boom. "There is a recovery. We're starting to build houses again in North Dublin. We're building 500 houses in swords," Gannon told the Sunday Independent last week.

The low-profile Gannon was asked at the Anglo trial if he had owned assets worth close to one billion euro. "Probably, yeah," he said. Gannon is understood to be working closely with Nama, and is likely to be one of the State agency's preferred partners for joint ventures and other homebuilding projects.

Gannon Homes is developing housing schemes at Millers Glen in Swords as well as a development at Mooretown in Swords. Mooretown could potentially see as many as 1,300 homes built in coming years, according to the company.

Pat Doherty's Harcourt Developments is also preparing to re-enter the Irish market. Doherty told the Sunday Independent that his company was going to build houses out in west Dublin near Citywest. Harcourt has built over 2,000 homes in Ireland. Harcourt Developments has planning permission to build 286 houses, duplexes and apartments by the National Digital Park in Citywest. The company helped co-fund the Luas extension out to Citywest during the boom.

Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Properties is also set to return to Ireland and start housebuilding projects, former board member Michael Smurfit said last week. The company has kickstarted a previously mothballed home-building project in Terenure, in South Dublin.

Outside these three housebuilding giants, other well-known players in the property market are also returning to the market. Former McInerney Homes boss Barry O'Connor is also back building houses through the Genesis Homes business, which has built and sold a scheme at Sli na Manach near Limerick. The company is also involved in a development at Dollymount in North Dublin.

The huge pent-up demand for new homes has seen frenzied activity and bidding for sites and landbanks around Dublin over the last year and a half. The Pat McDonagh-backed Next Generation Homes has inked large volumes of deals to buy land recently.

Last week, a government report revealed that 80,000 residential units will be required over the next five years to meet demand. Around half of these new homes – or 37,581 units – will be required in the Dublin area. The forecasts were made by the Government's advisory body on housing, the Housing Agency. The State body indicated that 80,000 units will be required to meet the minimum required supply in urban areas.

The report also suggests that Cork city and its surrounding areas will need 1,469 new homes each year by 2018. Galway and Limerick both need close to 2,500 new homes each year.

The pent-up demand for homes, particularly in the Dublin region, has seen property prices rise sharply over the last year. Last week, a report from estate agent DNG suggested that prices in Dublin had risen 23 per cent over the last 12 months. The report claimed that average prices in Dublin rose by 8.9 per cent during the first quarter of this year, the seventh consecutive quarterly rise. The average resale price of a house in the capital is now €329,719, representing an annual hike of €62,000 or €5,000 per month.

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