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Housing crisis reaches unprecedented levels

  • Double-digit increases for house prices and rent
  • Government must re-engage in construction of social and affordable housing
Aiden O’Neill and Dave Coakley of Coakley O’Neill Town Planning.
Pic: Diane Cusack

The housing crisis in Ireland has reached unprecedented levels with average house and rent prices increasing rapidly, while the demand far outweighs supply for affordable housing and rental properties. At the same time, the level of homelessness is increasing on a daily basis.

Speaking about the housing crisis, Dave Coakley, co-founder at Coakley O’Neill Town Planning, said, “Average house prices are going through double-digit rises and, without fundamental intervention, prices will continue to rise for the next five to 10 years. Similarly, the cost of renting is at an all-time high while available properties are at an all-time low.  This is having the net effect of restricted choices for lower-income households.  The housing crisis is even more apparent by recent statistics which show that at the end of June 2017, homelessness in Ireland stood at 7,941 – the highest figure ever recorded.”    

Despite the fact that far too many citizens are marginalised when it comes to the property market – whether they wish to buy, rent or are homeless – there are 180,000 vacant houses nationwide. However, the vacant site levy, designed to charge landowners 3% of the market price for unused land, will not come into force until 2019. “There appears to be no clear understanding of how the housing sector works or how we want it to work.” continued Dave Coakley.

“Reform of the planning system is unlikely to facilitate the increase in the supply of social housing needed.  The solution lies in a much wider re-engagement by the state in the construction of social and affordable housing – be that directly through local authorities, through voluntary housing associations or some form of national housing body.” concluded Dave Coakley.

Coakley O’Neill Town Planning Ltd was established in 2010 by co-founders and directors, Dave Coakley and Aiden O’Neill. The consultancy is based at the National Software Centre, Mahon, Co Cork, and represents a range of individuals and organisations in the public and private sector at national, regional and local level.

Coakley O’Neill Town Planning Ltd. regularly partners with a number of expert consultants, depending on the needs of the project. These specialists include architects, urban designers, environmental scientists, ecologists, engineers and legal experts.

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