Ireland should stop building semi-detached homes until the housing crisis is over, according to a leading architect.
Instead, the country should only be building apartments if it wants to tackle what is perhaps Ireland’s most enduring public policy problem.
“We should be building none [semi-detached homes],” Hugh Wallace, director at Douglas Wallace Architects, told Newstalk Breakfast.
“The only type of houses that we should be building at the moment are apartments.
“Because, if you look at the demographics of the country, 2.4 [million] people live in our houses and yet we’re building three bed, semi-detacheds which aren’t sustainable because we can never provide public transport.”
Between July 2021 and July 2022, the state received 10,191 Commencement Notices for the city; that figure is up 41% since the same period in 2020-2021 but lockdown restrictions meant the number of homes built that year was unusually low.
Regardless, Mr Wallace said the Government’s approach to the crisis is still too timid.
“We have to make much bigger and bolder moves than we’re doing at the moment if we’re ever going to sort out our housing crisis,” he said.
Even if a semi-detached house is built, a spacious garden might soon be a thing of the past; any reduction in size would allow developers to increase the density of new estates and build more homes.
“The big back garden is a throwback to when people used to grow their own food and have outhouses so smells wouldn’t travel,” said financial analyst Karl Deeter.
“But here’s the thing, if you do this, you can cut rents by 30%, you can cut prices by 20%.
"Those are real, viable [goals]... if you get enough supply out there and enough people doing it, it does help to suppress prices.”
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Main image: Apartment buildings on the north wall of Dublin's Docklands in July 2009. Picture by: Radharc Images / Alamy Stock Photo