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Monday 22 January 2018

Era of building apartments at an end -- estate agent

Paul Melia

THE era of apartments being built in towns and cities across the country has come to an end because there is no market for them outside Dublin city centre, a leading estate agent said yesterday.

Ronan Webster from CB Richard Ellis told the Irish Planning Institute autumn conference yesterday that developers were only interested in building houses because they cost less and did not involve tying up large amounts of capital for long periods of time.

"There is a shift in demand from apartments to housing," he said.

"The market is going to want to target housing because you can build five units, and if they don't sell you shut down the site. If you build apartments, you have to build the whole scheme which ties up your money for two years.

"The market will win out. Private finance is going to get the market going again. There may be demand for apartments within the canals (in Dublin) and within the M50, but not outside."

The IPI conference also heard that just one in 10 landbanks zoned for housing was likely to be developed in the next six years.


Last week the Irish Independent revealed that councils zoned enough land for one million homes that are not needed.

But Niall Cussen from the Department of the Environment said that just a fraction of this land was likely to see construction of new homes.

"It's clear that some of the zonings were very difficult to justify," he said. "Some 44,000 hectares is zoned for residential. The regional planning guidelines say that 12,000 or so is needed. In the current context, it's more likely we'd need 4,000."

In an address read out to the conference, Minister of State for Planning Ciaran Cuffe said the estimated over-supply of one million homes was "tangible evidence of poor judgment and misplaced forecasts".

Mr Cuffe -- who is in Luxembourg -- said future planning would concentrate on "readying up locations for the upswing".

His comments came after the IPI's president, Gordon Daly, said that thousands of jobs in the green economy might not be realised unless conflicts between nature conservation areas and development were resolved.

Mr Daly said Ireland had some of the best renewable wind energy, wave and tidal resources in the world, but "more coherent" management by national and local government was needed to grow the green economy.

Irish Independent

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