Slowdown predicted

CRH boss Liam O’Mahony, warned yesterday the Irish property boom cannot go on forever but believes it is too “pessimistic” to talk about a bubble or the possibility of a sudden house price crash.

Demand in the housing market is still driven by a strong Irish economy, a growing population, full employment. But Mr O’Mahony said he foresees some easing in the demand for housing this year.

But he dismissed any real danger to the housing market.

“There’s been talk of the market slowing, although there’s been talk of that for quite a number of years and it has continued to go from strength to strength,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see some easing in housing, but demand will still be at very good levels,” he said.

“Any slowing will be offset by strong, non-residential building and a continuing high level of infrastructure for quite a number of years.

“This country still needs to get its infrastructure base up to par with other modern states and that need will drive the sector indefinitely,” he said.

There is an “underlying confidence” in the economy that cannot be ignored, Mr O’Mahony said. The cocktail of the demographics, plus the age profile of the population, job creation and growing population “make us unique in Europe and there’s a lot of catch up being done”, he said.

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