Housing needs critical infrastructure status: Ibec

The housing crisis is in danger of worsening if the Government fails to enact serious reform of the planning system and elevate housing projects to critical/strategic infrastructure status, one industry representative has claimed.

The Ibec-affiliated Property Industry Ireland (PII) has just published its property watch report, which forecasts that just 11,000 new units are likely to be built this year — based on the 2,000 or so commencements made in the first quarter.

PII said that as this year’s build total will include the overhang requirement from last year, the country isn’t progressing on its plan of aligning the supply and demand equilibrium.

The Government is targeting 25,000 new house builds per year in order for demand to be met, but the ESRI sees this as being at least three years off becoming a reality.

PII director Peter Stafford said the gap between what is being built and what is needed is not narrowing and, by 2019, when the population will be larger, that 25,000 target figure may be as high as 35,000.

If the Government delivers on its plan, closing the supply gap in the next four to six years may be a reality, but if it doesn’t at least overhaul the planning process and upgrade the status of housing projects “we might never get there”, said Mr Stafford.

“The industry welcomes the leadership [Housing Minister] Simon Coveney is taking in reviewing blockages and delays in the planning system, and we await the publication of Government’s action plan for housing, which should be ambitious in its reform agenda.”

Mr Stafford said 2016 is set to be another year when demand for new houses far outstrips supply.

“While it is good news that the proportion of one-off houses is falling, more needs to be done to bring new developments through financing and planning and on to construction,” he said.

Ibec has also called on the Government to commit to spending a further €10bn on infrastructure projects by 2020.

“There is an intrinsic link between a productive manufacturing sector and a growing economy. With enough Government support and planning, Ireland can thrive as a world leader in quality manufacturing,” said Avine McNally, head of Ibec’s Irish Manufacturing Association.


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