How Ireland’s housing crisis is part of a global problem

Lack of affordable housing is a global problem that only seems to be getting worse

Auctioneers’ signs in Sandycove, Co Dublin. The four-decade long boom in house prices – apart from the short-lived decline after 2008 – coincides with a period of historically low interest rates. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Auctioneers’ signs in Sandycove, Co Dublin. The four-decade long boom in house prices – apart from the short-lived decline after 2008 – coincides with a period of historically low interest rates. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

It’s tempting to view the perennial calamity that is housing in Ireland as unique. Half a century of lousy, at times corrupt, planning has left us with a countryside full of one-off housing and cities full of low-density developments.

This makes the roll-out of infrastructure – health, transport, water and broadband – complicated and costly. Hence we have congested roads and transport systems, overburdened health services and a standard of living that belies our income.

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