National Economic and Social Council Housing market NESC
Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
O'Donnell, Rory and Cahill, Noel. 'Symposium on the housing market in Ireland - The NESC study'. - Dublin: Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland,Vol. XXXIV, 2004/2005, pp104-126
Journal of The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland Vol. XXXIV 2004/2005
This paper presents the key findings from a 2004 NESC study on the Irish housing
system, Housing in Ireland: Performance and Policy. The paper begins by identifying the
anxieties and concerns people have about housing. These cluster into three broad concerns:
the stability of the housing market, the degree of inequality in housing opportunities
experienced during the housing boom and the sustainability of settlement patterns and
neighbourhoods developed in the past decade. An interpretation of the housing boom is
developed to assess these concerns. It is argued that a large increase in house prices was
inevitable given economic and demographic trends. The supply response was very dynamic
but was considerably weaker in and near Dublin and other cities. The weaker supply response
in Dublin and other cities was a product of systems of both planning and infrastructure.
There was insufficient investment in infrastructure to support high-quality, high-density
development. The analysis confirms anxieties about inequalities in the distribution of housing
opportunities and also confirms concerns about the sustainability of new settlement patterns
and neighbourhoods. The core policy challenges identified are the need to achieve highquality,
sustainable neighbourhoods and to provide a more effective range of supports to
those households that fall below the affordability threshold. The paper examines the
dynamics of the land market and recommends long-term land use strategies and sufficient
active land management to ensure delivery of both private and social housing
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