It is becoming increasingly clear that Ireland’s regional cities and towns hold untapped potential for tackling our current housing crisis – although our ‘housing crisis’ is emerging as more of an ‘affordability crisis’ right now. The call for strategically-located residential development has never been louder, and there is a clear and significant opportunity for homebuilders ready to deliver in these areas.
Amidst the ongoing climate of housing scarcity, mismatch of supply and demand, and rising homelessness, particularly in the western regions of Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon, the market demands a different approach. This is more than a crisis; it is an opportunity for local and regional homebuilders to deliver private, social and affordable housing, partnering with local authorities and approved housing bodies in many instances. However, the traditional model of simply building more homes is not enough. We need to think strategically about location, sustainability, and financial viability. Consider the recent analysis in Dublin by Cushman & Wakefield, which highlights the potential of converting obsolete office spaces into residential units. While this insight is centred on an urban locale, the same principle can spark a revolution in regional areas. By repurposing existing buildings and infrastructure, homebuilders can potentially deliver housing solutions faster and more efficiently than starting from scratch.
Furthermore, the housing assistance payment (HAP) limitations have highlighted the dire need for more affordable rental properties. Homebuilders can capitalise on this demand by delivering cost-effective, higher-density housing in regional towns and cities that cater to this market segment, while maintaining quality and sustainability standards. By doing so, builders not only contribute to mitigating the rental crisis but also position themselves at the forefront of a socially responsible business model – ESG in action!
There is an emerging ‘two-tier’ market, distinguishing between modern, sustainable developments and poorer performing older buildings, and consumer preference is clear. Builders in regional cities and towns must innovate to be able to deliver homes that not only meet but exceed sustainability and design standards. These homes need to appeal to a new generation of eco-conscious residents – public or private, individual or institutional.
We are very aware that our homebuilder clients are at the crossroads of change right now, facing many challenges. It is all well and good to see the opportunity in every challenge, but we are not naive to the difficulties on the ground for project owners. At Lotus Investment Group, our team has the benefit of a nationwide perspective, which helps us to identify key areas for residential development. If you are a housebuilder exploring regional cities and towns for your next project, chat to us.
Lotus Investment Group