Should new homes be prioritised over office space?

Should new homes be prioritised over office space?

Since the turn of the year the number of properties open for viewings around the country each weekend on has been consistently above the 1,000 mark and this weekend is no different.

While that is to be welcomed and is a clear indicator of the current interest in property at present, it is still not meeting demand.

While a number of new developments have launched even since the turn of the year, quite often these are on a smaller scale than say a decade ago when large estates were much more prevalent.

While the first-time buyer scheme makes new builds particularly attractive right now, many around the major urban areas are priced above what the average person can afford.

That leaves an issue at a time when the country is doing well.

After a number of rocky years, the economy is continuing to remain on the up with a European Commission report last month confirming that Ireland remains the fastest-growing economy in Europe.

While there are challenges, such as Brexit, to retaining that title, the Government are hoping to capitalise on it by attracting business here from the UK.

There has been a small drip feed of this already while the construction industry is certainly readying itself for such an eventuality judging by the number of cranes that can once again be seen across our city skylines.

But are we getting it wrong somewhere along the road?

Michael Stanley of Cairn Homes seems to think so.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Mr Stanley warned that there was an “extraordinary imbalance” between office and residential construction in Dublin.

Mr Stanley noted that developers were building 400,000sq m (4,305,564sq ft)of offices in Dublin but just 800 apartments. He explained that, on the basis of international standards, those offices would accommodate 40,000 workers, while the apartments would house just 1,600.

“That is an extraordinary imbalance,” he said.

He has a point. The old Field of Dreams saying ‘if you build it they will come” might ring true but jobs are only so good if people have somewhere to go home to after a day’s work.

Cairn Homes will build between 375 and 400 houses this year while Mr Stanley said his company would build 1,200 new homes by 2019, but that would be less than 5 per cent of the houses needed.

Amongst the projects they are working on include an apartment block on Hanover Quay, close to the offices of Google and Facebook.

If more big names such as those are to be attracted here then we must change our building strategy to meet the demand.

Let us know your thoughts…

  • Are enough new homes being built?
  • Should a residential element be included in large scale office developments?
  • How can the Government speed up the amount of housing supply coming onto the market?

Have your say below…

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