Dublin Housing Crisis: 75 item laundry list doesn't make a strategy
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
May 15, 2014 - 8:17 AM

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Dublin Housing Crisis: The "construction strategy" launched by the Government on Wednesday is a cobbling together of input from various people that results in a 75 item laundry list, which is a detail of aspirations not a strategy.

It would be foolish to have expected anything radical in a document that was deliberately published a week before local and European Parliament elections. It would also be foolish to expect anything radical after the elections.

Greater London with an area of 1,600 square kilometres had a population of 8.2m in 2011, up from 7.3m in 2001 while Greater Dublin (county) with an area of 950 square kilometres had a population of 1.27m in 2011 and 1.12m in 2002 - - while the area of County Dublin comprises 92,200 hectares, 40,200 hectares are farmed. So the urban density is higher than the 1,336 persons per sq. km suggested by the data. This compares with London's density of 5,125 persons.

In 2011 at the nadir of the recession, Dublin's population rose by 83,000 from 2006, the peak of the bubble: +19,000 in Dublin City; +33,000 in Fingal (North) and +31,000 in Dublin South.   

The CSO said in December 2013 that Greater Dublin Area will see its population increase by just over 400,000 by 2031 if internal migration patterns return to the traditional pattern last observed in the mid-1990s. This increase would account for two thirds of the total projected population growth in the state over this period under the M2F2 scenario (613,000).

Alternatively, a modified 2011 internal migration pattern of more focused net inflow into Dublin would result in Dublin absorbing a greater share of this GDA growth, increasing by 286,000 of the total projected growth compared with just 110,000 in the Mid-East.

The total population is about 4.6m.

Within the M50 motorway ring-road, there is little land left for development.

During the bubble, big gardens attached to older houses were sought after by developers: when Tom Roche, founder of Roadstone died in 2002, his Chesterfield house on 9 acres off Cross Avenue in Blackrock was sold for €47m to a developer because Roche had debts of about €15m related to a legal debacle centreing on Tara Mines. A decade before, the nearby Sion Hill convent sold most of its grounds.

In 2008, a 3 bed apartment in Chesterfield was selling for €1m.

By 2006 petrol filling stations, bank branches, pubs, sport pitches and golf courses fell prey to developer offers.

Almost every development involved a shakedown by Nimbies either via some enhancement for an area or cash payments.

Politicians are unlikely to challenge Nimbies on high rise developments for example and the demand for housing within the M50 area will continue to inflate prices.

According to the official Residential Property Register, houses on Glasnevin Avenue are already fetching €400,000+ and a plain 2 bed apartment in Sandymount Avenue fetched €375,000 - -  10 times average gross national income.

The crappy apartments built in Dublin during the bubble are not suitable for a young family while rural bliss can be fines in doses, running two cars, being even remote from a town or village and long commutes into Dublin on dark rainy mornings after dropping children to schools or child minders, isn't much of a motivator either.

At the cost of further withering the food trade surplus, the practical option is to acquire farmland in North (centre of the horticultural industry) and West Dublin and develop by decentralising public services, building technology parks and schools, town centres and transport links to the rest of the capital.

Foreign services firms will not be persuaded to move to rural areas while greater Dublin would still be Dublin.  

The biggest current infrastructure project in Europe is Crossrail in London, involving some thinking for the future. Maybe we should try it sometime?

Irish Construction Plan: Kenny promises "world-class" sector

In 2013, the average price of a new house in Dublin was €300,466 and €228,216 nationally; the average sales price of a new house in the US in March 2014 was $334,200 (€247,000) and  first time buyers in the UK paid an average price of £182,000 for a property in 2013.

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