Looking to the Future
Though some time away, we are already able to predict how the Ireland of 2040 is shaping up:
- There will be 600k more jobs
- Ireland will hit a population figure of 6 million
- We will have 1.3m people aged over 65
- 1 million people will be under the age of 15
But, in terms of the construction industry, what does this mean?
Early predictions have estimated that these figures will result in the need for another 500,000 homes to be built. This will be no easy task, given the overcrowding in the market already.
Where Will we Live?
These trends evidence the need for an immediate, long term plan and significant investment within the Construction sector; demands show no sign of waning in the next 20 years, and neither do population figures.
According to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, speaking at the 2017 CIF Conference in Dublin, the present government is preparing for these eventualities, and they have a strong “vision to navigate through any challenges” that they may bring.
But does this alleviate concerns?
With a concerning shortage of homes and increasing prices (both for homes and rental purposes), predictions suggest that valuations will continue to soar, and Construction costs will rise to match this demand. Urban areas will be the hardest hit, with 1.8 million people already crammed into the Greater Dublin Area alone in 2017 (as per recent figures from the Dublin Chamber). This number will be around 2.2 million over the next 12 years, and even higher by 2040.
Construction firms will also need to assess the problem of rural areas too, and the viability of these areas as an option for alleviating some of the demand. Some areas being proposed as future commuter towns are almost a 2 hour commute from Dublin, the centre for jobs in Ireland.
Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has stated that a focused, sustained plan is required to stop the sprawl into the countryside. Speaking at the CIF Conference, Eoghan stated that his vision instead is to assemble communities, rather than continuing the trend of establishing disconnected towns.
Similarly, US firms headquartered here have voiced concerns about the lack of housing available for staff, with an estimated 30k more homes required to meet these demands alone.
If Ireland is to meet the requirements of the Irish people by 2040, the stresses placed upon the Construction sector will be vast.
Early observations suggest that adopting a high-rise structural set – building up, rather than out – could put a dent in the overcrowding numbers.
It is also important to be aware of the changing face of Irish families, and their requirements. People are no longer having 6/7 children, families are reducing in size and not everyone is striving for a 4 bedroom home. Embracing the present interest in purchasing apartments and smaller (1-2 bed) homes could also assist in alleviating the crisis facing the market. We must cater to changing times. Finally, a concerted effort to become aware (and cater to) demographics in a particular area will prevent unnecessary sprawling.
In conclusion, it can be seen that the Construction industry in Ireland is facing a challenging time of change in the next few years, and we need to begin planning efforts now if they are to be a success.