Taken from the Irish Times website today:

Almost 80,000 housing units will need to be built over the next five years to meet demand from a growing population, according to a new report from the Housing Agency.

The Government’s advisory body has forecast that a minimum of 79,660 residential units in urban areas will be needed between now and 2018.

The yearly requirement across the country ranges from 9,526 units this year to 20,853 units in 2018.

Almost half, or 37,581 units, will be required in the Dublin region, with an immediate need for 5,663 units this year. Annual demand in the capital will rise to 8,970 by 2018.

But the Construction Industry Federation has warned that these targets will not be met unless financial barriers to house building are addressed by the Government, the banks and local authorities.

Chief executive of the CIF Tom Parlon said the number of housing units that would be built in Dublin this year would be no higher than 2,000, some 3,663 less than the requirement identified in the Housing Agency’s report.

“The various taxes and levies have barely been altered since the downturn and do not reflect the current market reality,” he said.

Accessing finance is also a major problem for builders, Mr Parlon said, and the emphasis on planning permission for apartments over houses, which are in higher demand, also needs to be addressed.

Speaking in Limerick today, Minister of State with responsibility for housing Jan O’Sullivan said the Government’s construction strategy, due to be published within weeks, will examine the planning process to ensure it is fit for purpose.

She said planning permissions granted during the boom could be reviewed to make sure they were needed.

“We intend to stimulate building where it is required, not where it isn’t required,” she said.

“There is quite a lot of zoned land particularly in the Dublin area and we want to make sure that can be built on,” she added.

The construction strategy would include sections on availability of finance for mortgage holders and for developers, she said.

The Housing Agency findings were based on projections of natural growth and migration in the 272 urban settlements around the country with a population of 1,000 people or more. Over half of the units needed are for one or two person households.

Swords has the highest need, with 1,448 units needed over the next five years, followed by Balbriggan, where 925 units will be required.

Cork will need an average of 1,469 units per year to support the population of its city and suburban areas between now and 2018.

Both Galway and Limerick will experience housing shortages from 2015 onwards, with a total of 2,316 new houses needed in Galway, and 2,635 in Limerick by 2018.

Waterford has no immediate housing shortage, but will require 739 units between 2017 and 2018 based on projected population growth.

Kilkenny has an immediate supply problem, with an average of 156 new units needed annually over the next five years.

There are “pronounced requirements” in Drogheda and Dundalk, the report found, with 1,284 and 1,088 units needed respectively over the next five years.

A further 492 will be needed in Athlone, 534 in Ennis, and 292 in Edenderry in Offaly.

Killarney is the only town in Kerry with an immediate shortage, with an average of 64 units a year needed between now and 2018.