Dublin City Council says average housing unit costs €330,000

Senior official says higher-rise and smaller apartments the only way to reduce costs

It will cost Dublin City Council €330,000 to build an average unit of housing even when it owns the land, a senior council official has warned.

Brendan Kenny, the council's deputy chief executive, said it is "very difficult to build anything affordable" in an urban context because of the cost of underground car parking, lifts, security and the conversion of old buildings.

Mr Kenny said it would still cost the council €270,000 to construct an average three-bedroom apartment on its own land even if the Government introduced a 20 per cent subsidy on social and affordable housing.

He acknowledged that €270,000 was too expensive for a lot of householders wishing to buy an affordable home.


He based his calculations on a development that Dublin City Council is currently involved in on Dominick Street, a new block of apartments.

He suggested that the only solution that would bring down costs for the council would be for higher-rise buildings and smaller apartments.

“Dublin city is very expensive to build in even if we are developing our own land,” Mr Kenny said. “Standards are very high these days and rightly so.

“New regulations are being brought in and all that adds to cost. Builders won’t build unless there is a significant profit margin in it for them.

“With the new guidelines on height and sizes, it may make it more viable for builders because they can get more apartments in, but it is difficult to see how costs can be reduced otherwise.”

No houses

Mr Kenny also stated that the days of Dublin City Council building houses are over as it will only be building apartments from now on. “The only local authorities building houses are local authorities down the country,” he said.

He said the council has land in Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot, Darndale and Ballymun which can be used for affordable rather than social housing and that 2,800 affordable units can be built in those area.

“It doesn’t make sense to build high-density social housing in those areas as there is already an overconcentration of social housing. It is about the right social mix,” he said.

Mr Kenny said the construction of 48 homes in Ballymun by the Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance is the only social housing scheme within the Dublin City Council area that will be completed this year.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times