More than half of developers have postponed residential construction projects, BDO survey finds

The current planning system is the biggest barrier to residential construction, the BDO survey of developers warned. Stock image

Sean Pollack

Over half of housing developers have postponed new residential developments this year, citing challenges over areas including planning, labour and costs , according to a new survey.

The finding was included in the Residential Development Industry Sentiment Survey 2023, published by professional services firm BDO last week. It found that 57pc of developers reported postponing new residential developments this year.

The survey explored current issues affecting the Irish construction industry locally.

When asked what the primary challenges facing the construction and residential property development sector are, 44pc of respondents said planning processes posed a significant barrier. Nearly a quarter said the availability of skilled labour, while close to one-fifth cited an increase in the cost of materials.

Within the Housing for All plan, launched by the Government in September 2021, half of the respondents (50pc) said they believe the Help to Buy Scheme will have the most significant positive impact on supply.

When it comes to the usage of such schemes, it was reported by developers that over three-quarters of their customers (78pc) who are first-time buyers are availing of the First Homes Scheme and Help to Buy Scheme.

Allan Sweeney, director of finance, real estate and construction for BDO in Ireland, said seeing the uptake in the government support schemes by first-time buyers was positive. He added there would need to be changes to hit housing targets.

“While challenges facing developers are showing signs of delaying construction, this report identifies the need for certainty and speed in supports for the residential construction industry.

“While respecting the importance of the planning process, there is a clear indication that the current system may need a review in light of market trends.”