October 3, 2017 / Market

The role of apartments in meeting Irish housebuilding requirements, 2018-2022 – a study by Ronan Lyons commissioned by Activate Capital.

Activate Capital recently commissioned Ronan Lyons, Assistant Professor of Economics in Trinity College Dublin, to analyse the Irish housing market and to provide specific insights into the need or otherwise of apartments as part of the solution to the current and acute shortage of housing stock.  Attached to this post is the final report.

Ronan comments that “Ireland does not appear to have a shortage of ‘family homes’, but rather it has a shortage of housing stock that is appropriate for smaller households, such as first time buyers, students and empty nesters.

Ronan continues “Ireland has almost 900,000 households comprising just one or two persons but only 350,000 dwellings of a size suitable for smaller households and my analysis points to a backlog of c. 500,000 ‘missing’ apartments.  This shortage is stark in an international context.  Across the EU as a whole, roughly 50% of all dwellings are apartments – in Ireland, that statistic is just 12%, ranking Ireland lowest across the EU.

On the future, Ronan’s view is that projected population growth (CSO predictions estimate a c. 15% increase in Ireland’s population over the next 15 years), combined with on-going urbanisation and decline in household size, will significantly exacerbate the need for apartments.

Ronan comments “Addressing this acute shortage of apartments means that one apartment block of 200 apartments would be required every week in Dublin over the short, medium and longer term.  Outside Dublin, c. 1,200 apartments are needed every month.  ‘Apartments’ in this context includes urban core medium/high rise apartments and suburban low/medium rise apartments, both of which will appeal to different ends of the housing lifecycle.  It also includes purpose-built student and key-worker accommodation, as well as independent and assisted living schemes for Ireland’s older residents.  In addition, the need spans the income distribution, with both private and social housing included in that figure.

Ronan concludes “The challenge is not to anticipate the need, which is clear, but rather to harness the private and public sectors to meet that need.

Robert Gallagher, CEO Activate Capital, comments “In commissioning the report, we asked Ronan to take a holistic view on the life cycle of housing requirements in Ireland.  We would concur that with the projected strong growth in population over the next decade, scale apartment delivery will increasingly become an important part of the housing solution.  We are evidencing appetite from customers to consider apartment development in the main urban centres.

2017Q3 – Activate Capital – Report on The Role of Apartments in Meeting Irish Housing Requirements