Developers may need to go back to the drawing board as one-beds fall from favour

Couples in Dublin are shunning the confines of a one-bed apartment as they struggle to both work and live in two rooms

A fall in demand means that rents in Dublin have slid since the advent of the pandemic in March. Photograph: Getty Images

There's food for thought for Dublin's property developers in the latest update on the capital's residential market from docklands agent Owen Reilly.

Couples, it seems, are shunning the confines of a one-bed apartment as they struggle to both work and live in two rooms. According to the report, one beds are now proving difficult to let in the capital, with tenants looking for more space by renting a house. Even love doesn’t trump being able to shut a door on all those incessant conference calls.

And while a return to the office may be on the agenda at some point in 2021, it’s hard to see those accustomed to the flexibility of working from home wanting to return to their commute full-time.

Bad news then perhaps, for those developers who have thrown themselves into building one-beds, with a firm eye on the rental market.


As the report notes, the once unloved one-bed had become the most popular kid on the block, with most new planning applications in Dublin now comprising studios and one-bed units.

In Dundrum, for example, Lioncor is looking for permission to build 628 apartments at Marmalade Lane –- almost half of which will be one-beds.

Remcoll Capital, meanwhile, recently received planning permission to build a block of 41 apartments at North Strand. Of these 33 are set to be one-beds.

And the Marlet Group has its eye on 224 one-beds at its site at St Anne's Park in Raheny.

In the overheated rental market of days gone by, expressing a preference only got tenants so far; these days however, the market is turning in their favour, and a dislike for one-beds could prove problematic down the line for developers.

With the Airbnb short-term tourism market stalled for the foreseeable future, more properties are now available. And, as noted in the report, void periods, or times when the property is empty and not generating any rent, have trebled since March.

Unsurprisingly this lack of demand means that rents covered in the report have also slid, with those on apartments falling by about 12 per cent, according to Reilly’s figures, since the advent of the pandemic in March.

Goodbody Stockbrokers analyst Colm Lauder noted earlier in the week that apartments in the docklands are being offered at "increasingly favourable terms" for tenants.

The ball is now firmly in the court of tenants – at least in the short term – and developers might need to go back to the drawing board.