Lagan Homes moving into the Republic's housing market
Northern Ireland's largest housebuilder, Lagan Homes, is set to tap into the huge demand for properties in Republic by entering the market next year.
The company, which is owned by Kevin Lagan and connected to the wider Lagan Group, is understood to have already held discussions with a number of parties regarding site acquisitions and operations.
It is believed that the business, which was established in 1983, will initially focus on construction in the Dublin commuter belt, where growing demand for homes has helped fuel soaring prices.
The firm declined to comment on the specifics of its entry to the market in the Republic or to confirm if discussions regarding site acquisitions had been held.
"While developments are at an early stage, we see significant potential to deliver affordable and high-quality housing in the Republic of Ireland, building on our 30 years' experience and success in Northern Ireland and Britain," the business said.
In June, the construction giant was given the green light to build 500 new homes at Millmount Village on the outskirts of Dundonald.
The developer's arrival in the Dublin market is likely to see it compete with established companies such as stock market-listed Cairn Homes and Kennedy Wilson Europe for valuable sites around the capital.
However, Lagan Homes focuses on building houses rather than apartments.
During the summer, Cairn Homes agreed to pay €107m (£96m) to buy part of RTE's Montrose campus in Dublin. It intends to build 500 apartments on the site.
Lagan Homes is linked to the Belfast-headquartered Lagan Group and to the Dublin-based Lagan Asphalt Group.
The Lagan Asphalt Group operates aggregates and asphalt plants around the country, as well as a large quarry in Cork.
Lagan Homes is expected to complete 500 homes this year across Northern Ireland and Britain.
Last year, it secured planning permission for developments in Belfast and Bangor, totalling a combined 1,200 houses.
It is believed that the schemes will cost approximately £200m to develop.
The latest set of publicly available accounts for Lagan Homes show that it made a £1.6m operating profit in the six months to the end of 2015.