Surveyors – Enough zoned land in Dublin for housing

26 Sep 2014



Surveyors – Enough Zoned Land in Dublin for Housing

By Ruth Baily

The Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland has reported that there is enough land available to meet immediate housing needs in Dublin.  The comprehensive new report entitled ‘Housing Supply Capacity in Dublin’s Urban Settlements 2014-2018’ has outlined the available zoned land throughout the four local authorities along with details on current planning permissions and projected housing needs.

The report states that the ‘zoned land can deliver approximately 102,500 additional housing units under minimum recommended density scenario’.  This would mean that no further land would have to be rezoned for housing.  In order for that land to be built on however we need to remove the barriers to building -access to finance, planning permissions, development levies and Part V need to be tackled immediately.

This report acknowledges that the zoned land already exists to build these units. The construction of the homes for these new households will be economic drivers. 

The more construction activity that takes place the more money is circulated through the economy and the fewer construction workers are on the live register.  There are still currently 85,000 people with construction related experience signing on. 

A constant steady supply of homes will stop double digit house price rises, increasing rents and lead to fewer families becoming homeless.  This is how a normal functioning housing market works.

The report states that there are currently 26,580 live planning permissions spread across the four Dublin local authorities.  In theory, this would be a two year housing supply.  However, when looked at carefully the problems become apparent.  In the Dublin City Council area for example, permissions exist for just 2,444 units with a projected requirement of 13,751.  This is a shortfall of 82%.  This also presupposes that all of the 2,444 units will be built.  There is no guarantee that this is the case. 

If a developer or construction company feels there is no longer the demand for the kind of homes that permission was originally granted for they will not be built.  Many permissions in the Dublin City Council area are for apartments.  While apartments are suitable within centre of Dublin and in some other select locations, there is no great demand elsewhere for building large apartment complexes.  There are similar problems in the other local authority areas in Dublin. 

If the permission that exists is for apartments in the wrong areas then those units will not be built.  It is therefore imperative that a mechanism is developed that will allow planning permission to be altered from apartments to houses in a straightforward manner. 

Given the current supply shortage, this report shows that we have the land on which to build but we now need to tackle the other issues causing the shortage in order to normalise our housing market.

Click here to read the full report prepared by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.  

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