Housing crisis

Switching from flats to building homes at center of builder’s housing crisis plan – The Irish Times

The 58-page report presented to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien on Compact Growth Design Standards cites ‘focus groups’ claiming that the rear third of gardens is generally ‘dead space’ or ‘underutilized’.

Glenveagh Properties, one of the state’s largest home builders, is proposing that the current standards of a 60m² garden for a typical three-bedroom house be reduced to 40m². But he also argues that a 40m² standard should be extended to all newly built homes outside dense urban areas.

According to the proposals, this would mean an increase in private outdoor space for small homes for single residents, couples and retirees, he suggests.

According to current standards, one-bed apartments must offer only 5 m² – usually a balcony or terrace, two-bed apartments 7 m², three-bed apartments 9 m², while two-bed houses must include a garden of 55 m².

Scorning apartment building – except in city centers – Glenveagh is advocating for a program of “100% clean” housing developments for single adults, young couples, families and older couples – from “first time buyer to downsizer”.

The company says there is no demand for apartments outside Dublin’s M50 and limited demand inside the capital’s busiest ring road.

Importantly, he says allowing homebuilders to move away from apartments would make new developments much more economically viable and, therefore, homes more affordable for different generations.

At present, apartments cost around €450,000 to build, compared to €300,000 for a house, the company told the minister. This means that people who buy houses see their prices go up to “support” apartment owners.

Apartments are an “unwanted product, consumers don’t want them”, so in order for developers to sell them, they have to lower the price by shifting their costs onto the houses, according to Glenveigh.

“Apartment living is still needed in city centres, Glenveagh chief executive Stephen Garvey told The Irish Times.

“But when you look at suburban housing, or, say, some of the bigger cities outside of Dublin city – a flat costing £450,000 to build in one of those cities, who would be the buyer and who can afford it? It does not mean anything. The media keep saying land is the problem [in the State’s housing crisis]. But we have 15,000 plots of land under our control and the average plot cost is less than many people might think — about 10% of the sale of the overall price of the plot. [housing] unity. In some scenarios, the land cost could be as little as 5%,” he said.

“It’s not the cost of land, it’s the cost of apartments when we could be building houses – that’s the main problem.”

Planning Policy

This, he added, is exacerbated by a policy favoring “unviable” apartments. “The best way to solve the housing crisis is to change this aspect of planning policy.”

“The more supply we can bring in, which is viable and affordable, the closer we are to resolving this crisis.”

Mr Garvey admitted his plan, drawn up after looking at international comparisons of building standards, particularly in the UK, is ‘not the complete solution’, but said ‘we would be a long way from here if passed I believe we could already complete 30,000 units per year if these changes had been made in the past That would have been a much better case scenario for renters and home buyers as they could well have benefited lower rents and more affordable purchase prices.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the government needed to be “very careful to allow industry to set the terms of the housing policy”, but added it needed to be heard as much as other experts and that some of Glenveagh’s proposals “are interesting, and some are well-established design principles.

“They’re right that the current model is unsustainable,” he said.

“But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to deliver apartments. All over Europe there are good apartment complexes, from four to 13 floors.

“We are resigned to an old-fashioned way of doing apartments that is very expensive. But there are developers doing mid-rise apartment buildings, who can handle it, for around €300,000 per unit all-inclusive. When we hear from really big developers telling us they can’t deliver apartments, that’s just not the case. There is more than one solution. »