Mason Hayes & Curran: Property experts unconvinced by government housing promises

Mason Hayes & Curran: Property experts unconvinced by government housing promises

Pictured (left–right): Richard Shakespeare, Vanessa Byrne, Jamie Fitzmaurice and Mairead McGuinness.

Two-thirds of property professionals do not believe government’s housing promises are achievable, a new survey by Mason Hayes & Curran has found.

Taoiseach Simon Harris has committed to building 250,000 homes in the next five years, but the findings suggest there are significant concerns within the sector about meeting this goal.

The survey, of 400 industry stakeholders, was conducted by the business law firm at its annual built environment conference, Property, Infrastructure and Investment. It sheds light on critical issues impacting Ireland’s property market, including housing supply, infrastructure priorities, and future demographic trends.

The findings highlight that close to two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents believe planning regulations are the most significant factor impacting the supply of housing in Ireland. This outweighs concerns about financial resources (13 per cent), land availability (12 per cent) and workforce availability (11 per cent).

Jamie Fitzmaurice, real estate partner at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “While there is a level of scepticism around governmental targets, we are seeing some positive signs when it comes to housing supply.

“There is more capacity in the market in terms of workforce, which could help to reach those targets. Some of the previous issues have abated somewhat, including the post-Covid hangovers, rampant inflation and supply chain issues.

“But difficulties still remain and need to be tackled. One of the key takeaways from our event was the critical importance of state intervention in the housing market. The viability of a number of developments depends heavily on state involvement, be that through the Land Development Agency, the local authorities, the approved housing bodies, or those lending to such organisations.”

Six out of 10 respondents said that energy efficiency upgrades are the most critical sustainability initiative for the future of real estate investments.

Vanessa Byrne, Mason Hayes & Curran partner and co-head of real estate, said: “When it comes to energy efficiency, it’s not just about reducing costs; it’s about future-proofing investments and contributing to environmental goals.

“Sustainability is critically important and organisations are engaging with waves of new regulation from the EU, including the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation (SFDR) and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

“At the same time, fund managers, shareholders and public sector stakeholders must deliver returns on investment.”

Looking ahead, 29 per cent of respondents believe an ageing population will most influence Irish property markets in the next decade, while 27 per cent pointed to migration and mobility.

Ms Byrne added: “The ageing population and migration trends are set to reshape the property landscape. These shifts will demand adaptive strategies to meet changing housing needs and preferences.”

Infrastructure was also a key focal area, with 69 per cent of respondents saying planning hurdles are the biggest barrier to scaling up infrastructure investments in Ireland.

The MetroLink was identified as the most critical project to Ireland’s future development (43 per cent), followed closely by social and affordable housing projects (36 per cent).

David Gunn, construction partner at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “Investing in things like public transport, healthcare and affordable housing not only helps the economy but greatly improves the quality of life for everyone living in Ireland.

“A clear pipeline of projects assists the private sector in scaling up and committing to a long-term business presence here. Having certainty around funding makes it clear to the private sector that projects which are planned can and will be built, which is essential for meeting our long-term infrastructure targets.”

Share icon
Share this article: