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Housing boss - there'll be more Priory Halls


Housing Agency Chairman Conor Skehan at home in Dublin

Housing Agency Chairman Conor Skehan at home in Dublin

Housing Agency Chairman Conor Skehan at home in Dublin

A man helping to bring calm to Ireland's housing market said the problem of too few homes for sale will begin to ease in around 18 months time.

Dr Conor Skehan, chairman of the Housing Agency, said economic activity is starting to result in people borrowing to build or buy houses. However, there are not enough homes on the market yet and a substantial increase is needed.

The Housing Agency will help take the mystery out of what is happening by issuing regular up-to-date information. Last week, the agency issued its first national statement on housing supply and demand and the outlook for 2015-17.

"We're going to stop people panicking into thinking that the supply of homes is running out," he told the Herald.

"We know how many there are, we know how many are required, the Government has a plan. We have the money, we have the budget, it's all there.

"Over the next couple of years to 2018, we will start to see a pick up in supply to meet the demand.


"Those people that are going to need houses, in 18 months, it'll start to come on line.

"A big part is getting people to have the courage to put their house on the market. A lot of supply can be met by people moving out of housing that is too big and putting it on the market," he said.

"So selling houses is just as important. Selling has been suppressed by people being afraid to crystallise losses or being afraid that prices will increase even more next year and they'll kick themselves if they sell now," he said.

"It's like people standing in the queue outside the pie shop. Telling people we have enough pies and we'll have a pie for everybody and the pies take a while to cook and if people bear with us. People may say 'we'll put up with it for another 18 months and we'll save more as prices aren't going to run away from us.' We can't do much but we can influence that," said the agency chairman.

"We are just putting in position all the right systems of regulators, regulations and oversights.

"We are going to assume in the future there will be more (below standard) Priory Halls. We've put in place regulation and monitoring systems," he said.

Dr Skehan (57), who rents his home, said a third of the people living in Dublin are renting, which is approaching European norms.