Residential Market Braces For Change

CBRE Ireland Viewpoint | Residential Demand Drivers - October 2017 | Population growth and changing demographics leads to greater emphasis on provision of residential accommodation in Ireland

Housing needs by demographic cohort

DUBLIN, 26 October 2017 – Commercial property specialists CBRE have released their latest ViewPoint report, focusing on demographic trends impacting the residential sector of the Irish economy and property market. According to CBRE, new goverment budgetary measures as well as actions by the Department of Housing are going to impact residential development. Some of these include:

  • The increase in stamp duty on commercial property transactions from 2% to 6%.
  • Proposed tax on vacant sites, which is due to come into operation from January 2019.
  • Removing car-parking for developments in certain areas as well as lifting numerical height caps in urban cores and along key transport nodes.
  • Establishing a planning policy position that within clearly defined geographical catchments, 750-1,000 metres of the Dart, suburban rail, Luas, Quality Bus Corridor and/or Bus Rapid Transit stops.
  • Developing a broader range of urban living solutions that cater to different cohorts of the population.
  • Introducing new shared and Build-to-Rent accommodation models that cater to the housing needs of professionals.
Tim MacMahon, Director in the Development & Residential Capital Markets department at CBRE
“The progressive stance by the housing minister, Eoghan Murphy, to promote the development of more sustainable residential accomodation is highly supported and expected to bring positive changes to the market, such as delivering more apartments near transit nodes”.
Tim MacMahon, Director in the Development & Residential Capital Markets department at CBRE

CBRE outlines the demand side of the housing challenge, providing a clear picture of strong demographics in Ireland based on CSO data. The report discusses the change in population from 2011 to 2016, growing by 3.8% during the short time period. For the first time since 2009, net inward migration was positive in 2016, with 15% more immigrants to the state and 6.2% less outward migration, year-over-year.

The four Dublin local authority areas have shown strong growth with the population of Dublin City up 4.8% in the five-year period, South Dublin showing a 5.1% increase, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown showing a 5.3% increase and the population of Fingal increasing by 8.1% in the period. The population of the Greater Dublin Area increased by 5.7% from more than 1.8 million persons in 2011 to more than 1.9 million persons in 2016, now representing more than 40% of Ireland’s population.

Despite the rapid population growth and the large proportion of people now residing in the Greater Dublin Area, housing provision has not kept pace. 4,234 units were completed in 2016 compared to 19,470 in 2006. As a result, rents have increased by an annual average of 11.5% since Q2 2014, and the average house price stands at €353,975 in Dublin compared to a national average of €240,093, according to DAFT.

Although Ireland has been traditionally associated with high levels of homeownership, the proportion of renters is growing. There were 497,111 households renting in 2016, up 4.7% from 2011, bringing the proportion of renters to nearly 30% of the population. Meanwhile, the number of owner-occupied households fell between 2011 and 2016; the overall homeownership rate has dropped to 67.6% from 69.7% during the five-year period.

CBRE also analyses the nature of occupancy in Ireland by age group, showing that the younger cohorts have a higher propensity to rent. Approximately 65% of the Dublin population aged 25 to 39 rented from a private landlord, while 26% within the same age segment own (with the remainder renting from a local authority). Moving higher up in the age segments shows a higher proportion of home-owners, with over half of the age cohort 40 to 54 owning their homes up to 85% for the segment 55 years and above.

The report states that the residential property sector is at a pivotal stage in Ireland, with housing demands growing at a rapid rate due to changing demographics and evolving living preferences. However, it varies by age group, as the various stages of life require different housing needs. For example, singles who are between the ages of 20 and 35 are likely to seek out rental apartments, while couples with children are more inclined to reside in single-family homes that they own.

Wesley Rothwell, Executive Director, in the Planning & Development division of CBRE Ireland’s Development Land & Consultancy department
“Large Build-to-Rent schemes would not only satisfy investor appetite for scale but also fill the void in rental stock amid a growing population of students, young singles and couples without children. However, as Minister Murphy has argued, other types of housing need to be incorporated to meet the demands of the diverse Irish population. There is no specific formula for increasing the housing supply, but it does require buy-in from the various stakeholders, including the Government, developers, investors, land and property owners, and ultimately the end users. A multi-tiered approach is necessary, whereby the owners are connected with the developers and their funding partners”
Wesley Rothwell, Executive Director, in the Planning & Development division of CBRE Ireland’s Development Land & Consultancy department


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For further information and/or to request of copy of the full report please contact:

Wesley Rothwell 
+353 (0)1 618 5548


Tim MacMahon
+353 (0)1 618 5782



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CBRE U.C., (CBRE Ireland) registered in Ireland, no. 316570. PSRA License No. 001528 is the country’s largest commercial real estate services company with offices in Dublin and Cork. Currently employing over 135 employees, we work with occupiers, investors and developers of office, industrial and logistic, retail, hotel and healthcare property, providing strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; tenant representation, corporate services; property and project management; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management and debt advisory; business rates and compulsory purchase and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.ie