Friday 20 September 2019

Shift to apartment living as new builds shoot up by 64pc

Building levels are on rise. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe
Building levels are on rise. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe

Housing arrangements in the capital are set to shift towards apartment living, rather than houses, with the number of apartment completions growing by 64pc.

Housing schemes completed in the first three months of 2019 grew at the slowest pace in six years, according to the latest building energy rating (BER) housing tracker from Goodbody.

It showed apartment completions grew by 64pc year-on-year but, as they represent fewer than one in five of the total completions of homes, the proportion coming from apartments remains quite small.

According to Daft.ie economist Ronan Lyons, the only way to keep up with a rising population is to build more apartments.

However, he predicts this will be a slow process, taking up to 20 years for the shift to take place.

"We've only 12pc of our housing stock in apartments, while the average European country would have about 50pc of its homes as apartments. We're way behind the curve," he said.

"However, the Government is definitely starting to accept that a change in how we build homes is needed. It will take about 20 years to do this though."

Mr Lyons added that the construction sector's lack of foresight over the past 30 years was a major factor for why there are so few apartments in Ireland today.

"For generations, we were used to people emigrating, but our population had grown quite rapidly during the 80s and 90s," he said.

"The turning point should have happened then, but instead we doubled down on what the construction sector was used to building - three and four bed semi-detached houses."


The build-to-rent sector will be the biggest driver of the growth in apartments, according to the report.

"Without this investment, it is likely that the output in the sector would be much lower in the coming period due to viability and funding constraints," said Goodbody chief economist Dermot O'Leary.

A total of 4,255 residential units were completed in Ireland in the first quarter of 2019. This represents growth of 22pc year-on-year.

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