Thousands of apartments due to be built in Dublin in the coming years will end up in the hands of large international funds rather than homeowners, according to a housing expert.
It comes after an analysis by the Business Post found that more than 26,000 apartments due to be built in the coming years will cost significantly more than the mortgage-borrowing ability of most first-time buyers.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Dr Lorcan Sirr, DCU Senior Lecturer in Planning and Development said the properties are likely to end up in the hands of international investment funds.
“I think the honest answer is that it will end up being the institutional funds that end up buying them,” he said.
“The large international monied bodies, who have bought up 90% of all apartments in the last couple of years anyway, to rent them out, fairly expensively it has to be said, to punters looking for somewhere to live in the city.
“So, it is not going to be your average couple.”
He said there are a number of problems with Irish apartment living, noting that Ireland “bad history of building very shoddy apartments.”
“There is a drive on from the Department of Housing and Dublin City Council to get more people living in apartments,” he said. “But, at the same time as they are trying to encourage people to live in apartments, they are also reducing the standards.
“In other words, they are making the floor to ceiling height lower, there are less windows in them, they are darker and they are smaller – all that kind of stuff.
“People are not really buying into this. It is hard enough to get people to buy apartments already without making them into rabbit hutches.”
Professor Sirr said the answer to Ireland’s housing problems is the redevelopment of the vacant housing stock and the building of public houses on public land.
“There is always a drive for new builds – we must build new, new, new – but there are about 200,000 empty houses around the country and Dublin alone has about 21,000 empty houses so they could make a start by getting the empty stock we already have – which is typically in established locations already,” he said. “Get that back up and running for a start.
“The second thing is that we have acres of land. Despite the fact we think there is no land in the city, there is tonnes of land around most cities in Ireland – it is just badly used.
“So, I think we should start using public land for public housing.”
Professor Sirr said the Government’s “ideological predisposition” towards using the private sector to drive new builds has “resulted in smaller, darker, not-nice units that are incredibly expensive.”
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