ADAM DARGAN, SHARON O’ROURKE and JOSH WILER of Construction Information Services (CIS) report on residential activity across the Irish market in the 12 months up to the end of August 2023 and contend that it is pivotal to ensure timely completions, with only 18,630 units reaching the finish line in these 12 months.
Ireland’s housing sector has seen continued investment in the past 12 months, as well as ambitious planning applications, healthy on-the-ground activity and the completion of thousands of units across the country.
Even with the many challenges it faced – primarily the bottleneck of planning – the Irish residential construction sector has not been idle. The heartbeat of residential construction has been felt most robustly in the region of Leinster, which surged ahead as a beacon of housing growth. This was evident with an influx of planning applications and the unveiling of thousands of brand-new residential units.
The Large Scale Residential Development (LRD) planning application route has replaced the now defunct Strategic Housing Development (SHD) route and will hopefully prove to be a much better solution to housing shortages going forward, allowing for the growth of a more sustainable supply of housing for an ever-growing population.
Large Scale Residential Development
In July 2023, CIS reported that 50% of counties in the Republic of Ireland now have at least one LRD proposed. CIS data indicates a higher concentration of LRD schemes in counties with urban centres, such as Cork and Dublin. As expected, there are regional disparities across Ireland, with rural or less densely populated counties having fewer LRD schemes. The local authorities of Dublin accounted for circa 70% of all LRD schemes as of July 2023, equating to a total of 12,337 residential units.
LRDs are poised to act as an important catalyst for addressing the housing crisis, bringing benefits such as increased supply, affordability, economic growth, soundly planned diverse communities and robust infrastructure.
In the past 12 months, 64,260 residential units have been submitted for planning, with the largest region, Leinster, having 44,660 units and the smallest region, Ulster (ROI), having just 2,550 units. The highest aggregate value of total projects peaked at €15.05bn. It is vital that the delivery of these units is realised over the coming years to achieve government Housing for All targets.
As of August 2023, the largest project lodged for planning in the past 12 months was the €350m Goulding Site LRD in Cork city. The development consists of the demolition of the existing on-site buildings and structures and site clearance to facilitate the construction of 1,325 residential units, including apartments and duplexes within 10 buildings. As of August 2023, this project has been approved planning.
Over the past 12 months, 52,420 units were granted planning permission. With the largest region, Leinster, having over 38,440 units and the smallest region, Ulster (ROI), having 1,760 units. There has been a consistent number of projects being granted permission comparing Q3 2022 and Q3 2023 current trajectory.
One of the largest projects to receive planning approval in the past 12 months was the €300m St Vincent Hospital LRD in Fairview, Dublin. The development consists of the construction of a new hospital building, providing mental health services, provision of nine residential blocks and community facilities, as well as public open space. The proposed building heights range from two to 13 storeys with a total of 811 residential units, including 494 standard-design apartments and 317 build-to-rent (BTR) apartments.
A total of 8,380 new projects commenced over the past 12 months, comprising close to 34,000 units, with the largest region, Leinster, seeing over 23,000 units commence and the smallest region, Ulster (ROI), almost 1,000 units.
One of the largest projects to commence on site in the past 12 months was the €400m former O’Devaney Gardens site in Dublin. The development consists of 1,047 residential units and all associated ancillary accommodation, site and development works. The total gross floor space (GFA) of the overall development is 102,940 sq metres, of which 100,646 sq metres are for residential and 2,294 sq metres for non-residential uses.
Over the past 12 months, 18,630 residential units have been completed, with the largest region, Leinster, having 12,450 units delivered and the smallest region, Ulster (ROI), seeing the delivery of 814 units. These units would derive from completed developments and units completed within ongoing developments. The mix comprises scheme housing, apartment developments and mixed residential projects.
One of the largest projects to be completed within the past 12 months was a €92m Cairn Homes apartment development in Marino in Dublin. The development, with a total gross floor area of 36,556 sq metres (excluding basements), consists of 385 residential units, comprising 377 apartments and eight five-bedroom two-and-a-half-storey terraced houses.
While Leinster takes the lion’s share in this resurgence, areas like Ulster hint at the need for more balanced regional development. The sheer financial magnitude of projects, peaking at €15.05bn, signals confidence in the sector, attracting both domestic and foreign investments. The Goulding site LRD project stands as a testament to this sentiment.
Still, while planning permissions and project commencements paint a positive picture, it is pivotal to ensure timely completions, with only 18,630 units reaching the finish line over the past 12 months. This disparity underscores the challenges the sector may face, from supply chain disruptions, labour shortages and regulatory bottlenecks. As Ireland strides into the future, the focus should not only be on the volume of houses but also on sustainability, affordability and holistic urban planning. Embracing a multipronged approach, which marries volume with value, will be crucial to orchestrating a housing landscape that is innovative and inclusive.
Information is correct as of 31 August 2023. For more details on residential project information and analysis, visit www.cisireland.com or Email email@example.com, or call 01 299 9200 to speak with the Construction Information Services research, sales and insights teams.
CIS recently released a full report dedicated to Large Residential Developments (LRDs). If you would like a copy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org