Belfast Telegraph

How a housing crisis could ruin flow of FDI into South

By Ronald Quinlan

While it may be comforting to some to read that there have been 70 construction cranes visible over the centre of Dublin, one would hope that the figure set off alarm bells in government buildings.

With nearly every one of those cranes being used for the construction of new offices in anticipation of a post-Brexit exodus of bankers from London and in expectation of the more usual flow of FDI arrivals, the burning question is not one of 'do we have enough office space to meet demand?'

The real and more important issue at this point is: 'If they come, where are the workers going to live?'

The gravity of the situation, if it wasn't clear already to the Republic's Housing Minister Simon Coveney and his Cabinet colleagues, was certainly driven home with the publication by the CSO of the housing data from the 2016 census.

Leaving aside the shocking yet entirely unsurprising finding that Ireland's total housing stock increased by just 0.4% (8,800 units) since 2011 compared to the 12.7% increase recorded between 2006 and 2011, the CSO's analysis of the availability and profile of residential accommodation in the capital is very worrying.

In a note on the subject, agents Knight Frank drew attention to the fact that the vacancy rates in south Dublin and Fingal sit at an incredibly low 13 and 17 housing units per 1,000 respectively.

But if we're to deal with the specific accommodation problem a potential post-Brexit influx of financial services professionals or the continuing stream of FDI entrants poses for Dublin's CBD and docklands, it's clear that the government and Dublin City Council need to get over what Knight Frank refer to as the "ideological opposition" to building height, to allow for accommodation of sufficient scale to be built in the areas where it is needed most. Certainly, if opportunities to attract FDI and post-Brexit relocators haven't been lost or otherwise foregone, the deepening housing crisis that CBRE's head of research Marie Hunt has said is already being used by other European competitor cities to 'spin' against the Republic of Ireland will damage its prospects in the very near future.

Belfast Telegraph