Bank of Ireland ‘Building our Future’ property event explored the future housing needs of Ireland’s population.
Providing a more diverse mix of housing is essential for Ireland’s future, a ‘Building our Future’ housing event in Dublin heard last week.
The event explored what is required for Ireland to achieve the appropriate supply and type of housing for the future needs of the population. Discussion focused on a number of key areas including demographics and communities, tenure and the evolution of policy, planning and densities, and sustainability.
“Ireland is some way off Utopia when it comes to housing”
Attendees heard from a range of speakers, with a recurring message that given our growing and varied population we need to plan for, fund and deliver a more diversified range of property to facilitate the appropriate mix of tenure into the future.
Building the homes of tomorrow
Bank of Ireland’s ‘Building our Future’ event was attended by property professionals spanning development, construction, planning and funding.
“Improved regulations mean that new units will have to be low or nearly zero emission standard, and both new builds and retrofits will consume far less energy than they have done historically”
The event was organised and hosted by Bank of Ireland in the House of Lords, College Green, with an opening address by Paul McDonnell, Interim CEO, Bank of Ireland Corporate and Markets. Speakers were David Duffy (Director, Property Industry Ireland); Tom Dunne (chair, Residential Tenancies Board); John McCartney (Adjunct Associate Professor, UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy); Michael Murray (Senior Director, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking); Loretta O’Sullivan (Bank of Ireland Chief Economist); Tom Phillips (MD, Tom Phillips + Associates); and Krystyna Rawicz (MD, KRA).
“Ireland is some way off Utopia when it comes to housing,” noted Loretta O’Sullivan, Bank of Ireland chief economist.
“Notwithstanding considerable policy focus, the reality is a chequered past, current problems and challenges ahead. The need to better align housing demand and supply and to make housing more inclusive and more sustainable is understood though. This is welcome and while it won’t be easy, it is very important.”
Focusing on demographics and Ireland’s ageing population, David Duffy, Director, Property Industry Ireland said: “Past projections show our population is ageing and we know that average household size declines with age. Population growth scenarios also provide insights into the future shape of the housing market – who lives where and in what type of accommodation – so a refresh to take account of Census 2022 should be done as soon as possible.”
Tom Dunne, chair of the Residential Tenancies Board, said that increasing emphasis is being placed on State-provided social housing.
“At the same time, home ownership is again seen as the desirable status to be encouraged and open to all who can afford it. However, a fully functioning and efficient private rented sector is also an essential component of the housing mix in any dynamic economy, particularly one with a large multinational presence. Current policy lacks a shared vision for PRS but there is hope that the Housing Commission will contribute to creating this.”
Households’ needs evolve as they progress through life, and this can potentially lead to misalignment between their housing requirements and the housing conditions that they are experiencing at a given point in time, noted John McCartney, Adjunct Associate Professor, UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy.
“A key policy challenge then is to create flexibility. One example is Universal Design which allow peoples’ homes to flex with their needs. Factors which lock people into unsuitable homes such as transaction costs and other barriers to movement should also be considered.”
“The funding of sustainable residential development activity is of strategic importance to Bank of Ireland Group,” said Paul McDonnell, interim CEO, Bank of Ireland Corporate and Markets.
“It is critical that there is diversity in the type and tenure of new housing units to cater for the evolving household needs into the future. Bank of Ireland has a long and successful track record in helping to deliver a substantial numbers of new homes for the owner occupier and rental sector- private, social and affordable. We are proud to support house-builders, big and small, to enable them to do their part in helping to solve current and future housing needs.”
Michael Murray, senior director, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking said that Bank of Ireland currently has €1.3bn committed funding that will deliver over 19,000 new homes over the coming years.
“We welcome the substantial amount of private rental and social housing accommodation built in recent years, which has added greatly to the housing stock. These have been built and operated by experienced entities with access to significant long term domestic and international capital. Development of more specialised accommodation such as Retirement Living has not yet really taken hold in Ireland but the experience in the UK and US might provide useful lessons for us.”
Exploring planning policy, Tom Phillips MD, Tom Phillips + Associates said: “A holistic review of development standards to move from one-size-fits-all to bespoke is needed, along with a recognition that market forces are important – housing capital is footloose, and the frequent chopping and changing of standards affects certainty and perceptions of it. In addition, the default threat of Judicial Review must be addressed.”
Addressing the theme of sustainability, Krystyna Rawicz, managing director of KRA said that the homes of tomorrow will be more efficient than those of today; providing spaces where occupants are assured of adequate comfort, air quality and low running costs all year round.
“Improved regulations mean that new units will have to be low or nearly zero emission standard, and both new builds and retrofits will consume far less energy than they have done historically.
“With space heating accounting for most of the energy demand of the average Irish home, we have to end our reliance on fossil fuels by using less coal, oil and peat and moving toward the enhanced electrification of our homes. Doing so, in conjunction with the installation of renewables such as solar PV and the procurement of renewable energy from energy suppliers, will ensure that the occupants can reduce their own energy bills while simultaneously curbing their carbon emissions,” Rawicz said.
Main image at top: Sarah Carey, Event MC; David Duffy (Director, Property Industry Ireland); John McCartney (Adjunct Associate Professor, UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy); Krystyna Rawicz (MD, KRA), Loretta O’Sullivan (Bank of Ireland Chief Economist); Tom Phillips (MD, Tom Phillips + Associates); Tom Dunne (Chairperson, Residential Tenancies Board); and Michael Murray (Senior Director, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking)