Ireland 'needs 30,000 new homes per year'

Ireland will need to build over 30,000 new homes per year over the next 15 years, an economist has claimed.

Marian Finnegan of property auctioneer Sherry Fitzgerald told the National Housing Conference today that Ireland’s growing population would require substantial additional housing between now and 2026.

“The latest census figures show that Ireland’s population has risen to 4.58 million and it is expected to increase to 5.1 million people by 2026,” Ms Finnegan said.

“Based on this population growth we can anticipate that there will be a need for an average of 30,200 new homes to be built per year over the next 15 years.”

The conference, organised by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), is taking place in Dublin Castle’s Conference Centre.

The comments come despite figures which show that there are more than 30,000 properties in the country which are either incomplete or vacant.

However RIAI President Paul Keogh said that the supply of empty units – many in so-called ‘ghost estates’ countrywide - would not meet future demand, as many were not located in growing centres of population.

“There is a perception that there are plenty of unoccupied housing units to meet the demand for new homes but that is not actually the case,” said Mr Keogh.

“It is projected that we will build around 10,000 units in 2012 – most of which are one-off houses in the countryside – yet the need for new homes is almost three times that and is concentrated in the Greater Dublin area where supply is expected to become quite limited from next year.

“So we need to start planning now to address the needs of our growing population for homes, schools, local shops and community infrastructure if we are not to face the type of major problems we have been facing over the last few years.”

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