Apartments – can’t buy or won’t buy?

Sir, – Fiona Reddan ("Very few Irish people are buying new apartments. Is it because they can't – or they won't", Life & Style, May 21st) highlights in particular the construction of many new apartments in Stillorgan village (within my own electoral ward) and indicates: "it's unlikely that even one of these apartments will ever be sold on the open market. Most are primed for the high-end rental market, with rents likely to be well in excess of €2,000 for a two-bed unit".

Ms Reddan also cites CSO figures of purchases of new-build apartments to household buyers across Dublin in 2021, with, for example, a paltry 109 new apartments being sold to such buyers in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (a figure so exceedingly low that it must be actively responded to by policymakers).

In relation to “Pathway to supporting home ownership and increasing affordability” (a core subsection of Housing for All), the website indicates “on 14 December 2021, the Planning and Development (Amendment) (Large-scale Residential Development) Bill 2021 became law. The Act gives legislative underpinning to guidelines aimed at ensuring new houses and duplex units in housing developments are not bulk-purchased by commercial institutional investors in a way that causes displacement of individual purchasers and/or social and affordable housing.”

This is known as the “owner-occupier guarantee” and a previous Government press release stated that “apartments, due to the fundamental viability issues, will be exempt from these provisions”.

In my role as a councillor in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, I am observing that the great majority of large-scale residential developments being brought forward currently in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are a mix of one-bed and two-bed apartments, where the effect as a consequence means that the intended benefits of the “owner-occupier guarantee” are not going to be observed in my area to a great degree unless the terms of the guarantee are going to be tweaked to include all apartment schemes.

Further intervention must be made by the Government to ensure that a good proportion of new apartment schemes offer the promise of home ownership, particularly to the younger generation, as it is extremely unhealthy for a cycle of perpetual rent to be the only option available in relation to the primary form of new-build accommodation being currently undertaken. – Yours, etc,



(Fine Gael,

Stillorgan Ward),

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

County Council Offices,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.