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The future of housing is ‘tiny’

Earlier this week, the Department of Housing published new draft guidelines for apartment developments and the reaction has been mixed, at best.  The headlines ran with announcements that car parking will no longer be a requirement, also, more apartments per floor area will be allowed.

Understandably, home buyers were quite panicked by the news, however, just to reassure buyers in Wicklow and Wexford, car parking has only been done away with in areas with good public transport connectivity  – we don’t need to worry about that for the moment, unfortunately.

The rationale behind the move is to make apartment building more cost-effective, which is hoped will speed up the supply of new homes to the market right across the country and to make those new homes more affordable for intending buyers.

While more homes will be allowed in a single development, these are likely to be smaller as the market is apparently demanding more studio and one bed apartments.

One of the other interesting concepts introduced is called ‘shared living’.  This essentially provides for people having their own en-suite bedroom and then sharing kitchen and living space.  This is already being done for student accommodation, costing up to €1,000 per month in Dublin, Cork and Galway.  The important thing to realise is that we are not talking about going backwards to bedsit-living in damp, old period houses; these co-living spaces are state-of-the-art, beautifully designed homes for people who are renting or, potentially, buying at the lower end of the market.  The driving force is to offer greater choice, which is something that we do not have much of in the current market.  We tend to go between two-bed apartments in the city, to three-bed semis in the suburbs and then dormers dotted around the countryside.  Buyer demographics are changing, in fact, I would go further to say that buyers themselves are changing.  People want choice and they need an option that suits their particular stage in life. Not every thirty-something year old wants to rent but yet might not be ready for a three-bed semi-detached house in suburbia!  Also, reports last week revealed that divorce in Ireland has increased 25% over the past three years.  One of the explanations for this is that middle-class people can now afford to separate, whereas, this was simply not an option in the early stages of our economic recovery.  This is representative of a new type of long-term tenant and a new type of buyer who requires a smaller, more affordable type of living arrangement.  As society changes, our housing stock must change to fit the needs of modern living – of course, planning should really be a step ahead in pre-empting and providing for those changing housing needs.

Just to let people know, these new guidelines are in draft only.  There will be a public consultation period from January for people to contribute their opinions before the changes are incorporated into the Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework/NPF. As a nation, we tend to give out about planners quite a bit so maybe now is a good time to get involved with the decision-making and have our say heard.


If you are considering selling in the South Wicklow and North Wexford areas, call into one of our offices (located in Carnew and Gorey) and chat to any of our expert team or you can contact us online at We are happy to facilitate overseas buyers and sellers via Skype or similar, outside of regular office hours.

Alternatively, email me directly on or telephone : +353 53 94 21718

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