Tuesday 20 March 2018

High house prices come with high social costs

WHILE many parts of the property market remain mired in recession, there is little doubt that parts of Dublin are witnessing rising prices once again. While a jump in prices is undoubtedly pleasant for those wanting to sell houses in the capital's leafy suburbs, it is not necessarily a cause for celebration. High property prices come with high social costs and society needs to be wary of simply repeating the mistakes of the last boom once again.

Dublin's rising prices reflect a severe, and artificial, shortage of houses in well-established areas. This follows a failure to build family homes over the past few years in popular areas that already have schools, shops and hospitals. This trend must now be reversed by changes to the planning codes.

It is time for the authorities to alter the rules on density to allow more houses to be built in areas where people want to live. High-density living appears to be anathema to the planning authorities, but people are already voting with their feet. Densely populated areas such as Drumcondra in north Dublin and Rathmines in south Dublin, which would be illegal under today's absurd regulations, are among the most popular areas for families and individuals seeking new homes.

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