Census results another reminder that action is needed on housing

Census results another reminder that action is needed on housing

The preliminary results from Census 2016 have shown that Ireland’s population has increased 3.7% over the past years.

That represents 169,724 more people living here, taking the country’s population to 4,757,976.

A growing population offers both opportunities and challenges, of course, and while areas such as public infrastructure, transport, education, health and social services all needed to be taken into account, hosing could arguably be deemed one of the most important given the huge shortage of accommodation being reported in our major towns and cities at present.

It has been speculated that Minister for Housing Simon Coveney will unveil plans next week to build 45,000 new homes over the next five years.

However, even if he meets that ambitions target it may not be enough to cater for a population that is expected to grow even further over the same period.

Already the preliminary Census results have shown that the number of houses being built has not kept pace with population growth. It doesn’t help either that there are currently 259,562 vacant properties across the State.

The Government will need to take action on this to prevent the housing crisis becoming a deeper problem than it already is in the years ahead.

Whether that is in the form of a land levy to prevent developers sitting on idle land or the relaxation of the bedsit ban that came into force in 2013, the reality is that peopl need somewhere to live.

With growing property prices both in terms of sales and rentals, that is one dream that is becoming increasingly beyond the reach of many.

It will also hamper the country’s economy potentially, with multi-nationals unlikely to come here if their staff and potential staff cannot find somewhere to live.

There’s major challenges ahead but the planning to take them on needs to happen now.

  • What do you think the Government need to do?
  • Is there any quick solution to our housing problems?
  • Can anything be done to free up the 259,562 vacant properties around the country?

Have your say below…

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. wendy at 1:36 pm

    The existing home owners that purchased in the boom time are being neglected . we have a small 700 ft house and with a growing family need to upgrade to a bigger house. But how can we ?? 20% deposit rules now apply .too much emphasis on the first time buyers and not those who are trading up

  2. Lucia Bradford at 9:55 am

    The minister for housing Simon Coveney absolutely needs to start building as a matter of priority. There is no quick solution to the national emergency that is the homeless crisis. But all bureaucracy has to be fast tracked. What about these peoples lives? Families with very young children put on the street, or having to sleep in cars. Or couped up in hotels? The cost of this not just in terms of money, but what it must be like for these families? Not being able to cook. A young child or teenager not being able to do homework? A young child not able to play. When will anyone ever think of the appalling long term consequences. And most definitely any vacant properties start to work on immediately. It is not enough just to cap rents, or to remove this absurd cap as set by the DSP, although these are all necessary to reduce the likelihood of other families becoming homeless. As until the demand for rental property is taken away, landlords will have the cream of the crop with all tenants. Maybe even something like it being made law for all landlords to be obliged to take a percentage of tenants who are in receipt of social welfare.

  3. peadar at 2:59 pm

    Housing is a crisis in Eire and yet there is no real long term developmental policy, it is left to the 4 winds to blow any which way. No rental controls or auditing. No compulsory purchase of idle properties, no affordable housing. I bet there is not one elected politician whose children will not get a house when the time comes. This country will never change, no matter who the hell is in office, no new strategies, same old same old.

  4. Jac at 3:59 pm

    One other thing nobody is talking about is the daft idea of landlord providing furniture and white goods to tenant. If you want security of tenure, those renting should be made to provide their own utilities. That should hopefully give the tenant some sense of responsibilities which most of them don’t have at the moment. They destroy thing wittingly, and which landlord will be willing to accommodate such tenants – they will eject them as soon as they can.
    These coupled with the other sticks from the government on small and big landlords can never encourage any security of tenure.
    Somebody in the government should spare a though for the landlord tenant relationship and stop demonising the landlords.

    • Joakim Makela (@TrionfoCervos) at 5:40 pm

      Very good point, Jac. I never really understood the point of providing a fully furnished house or apartment to tenants other than perhaps students or other short-term tenants.

      We’ve always been renting and very soon you have acquired lots of furniture and whatnot so whenever we have had to move house we have asked the landlord to remove all his stuff as we have no interest in putting all of our things in storage while living there. This has also meant that we’ve been happy enough to stay 5 or more years in the one place as we have been able to make it feel pretty homely to us.

  5. Jac at 3:46 pm

    Unfortunately no body is taking any action about the vacant properties all over the country. Department of environment (Housing now) should request banks to inform them of any property that is under repossession and a log should be kept of these properties by the department with active follow up. I know of about 3 house one area in Dublin that has been vacant for more than 3 year and the banks are chasing the owners who have let the country and have no intention of paying them a single cent.
    These are houses that can be used to house those who are home less.

  6. Geraldine Dunne at 3:26 pm

    Yeah, let the Government buy them back from the people who were robbed buying them in the first place and that would solve the negative equity problems for all those affected by this!

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