Almost 6,000 student beds in the pipeline for Dublin

Developers expected to provide 7,500 additional student spaces in the coming years

Binary Hub: Student accommodation off Thomas Street in Dublin built by Threesixty Developments

Binary Hub: Student accommodation off Thomas Street in Dublin built by Threesixty Developments


Almost 6,000 beds for students are in the pipeline for Dublin city with more than 2,000 places already under construction in purpose-built student blocks.

While the the rate of general residential construction in the city remains low, with just 750 houses and apartments under construction in the first quarter of this year and 450 granted permission, significant numbers of student housing blocks are under development, according to research from planning and economics consultancy Future Analytics Consulting.

While the figures are not directly comparable, with numbers of standard apartments or houses counted by “unit” and student housing by bedspace, the student housing analysis shows 5,755 bedspaces at various stages of construction and planning in the city.

Just over 4,406 purpose-built student bedspaces have been granted permission and of these 2,245 of these have commenced construction. Planning applications for an additional 369 bedspaces are under consideration by Dublin City Council and four applications for purpose-built blocks, accounting for a further 980 beds, are on appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

“While there have been limited numbers of standard residential development commencements and completions to date in 2016, these figures for purpose built student accommodation appear to be extremely positive,” said Future Analytics planning and research consultant Daniel Moody.


The Higher Education Authority has estimated a need for about 25,000 more beds for students nationally with the shortage of student accommodation at its worst in Dublin, where students are competing in a high-cost rental market with families and young workers.

“Increased development of purpose-built student accommodation will directly act to address the current housing shortage by providing students with accommodation and indirectly by releasing privately rented accommodation onto the market for occupation by non-students,” said Mr Moody.

Design and tender

He estimated that a further 7,500 student bedspaces for Dublin are at various stages of the pre-planning, design and tender processes.

“Currently, there is only sufficient purpose-built student accommodation to house about 10 per cent of Dublin’s third-level student population and while not all students need or want to live in purpose-built student accommodation, this figure is far below norms set in the UK and even in other towns and cities in Ireland with universities, colleges and institutes of technology. These additional bedspaces will certainly address an existing demand, one that will only expand in the coming years”.

He added that many of the large-scale blocks under development were on sites which had been vacant or derelict for several years. Large blocks are being built or are planned for the Liberties area, and the north inner city, while the largest single block to be granted permission, with a almost 1,000 beds, is in the docklands.

Peter Stafford, director of Property Industry Ireland, part of Ibec, said despite not having to meet the same size and other standards of general apartments student housing was often more expensive to build, because of the demand for communal facilities such as gyms. However they had an appeal for developers, particularly in Dublin.

“In Dublin city there is a high student population, so from that perspective it’s a fairly low risk model for investors. The worst case scenario is that you would build apartments somewhere no one wants to live in apartments, but with student accommodation, in the right place, you have a regular guaranteed income.”

The rise in purpose-built student housing was part of a wider trend towards build to rent, instead of build to sell apartments, he said. “More and more developers are becoming long term landlords, student accommodation is part of a wider movement towards that model.”