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Ireland becoming a nation of renters

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Around 30pc of the population rents homes – and that figure will only get higher as developers favour the build-to-rent model. In the case of Dublin, Cork and some of the other of our country’s main cities, the private rented sector will have an increasingly important role to play in meeting the short to medium-term accommodation needs of people employed in the financial services and technology sectors.

Managing director of the Ballymore Group, John Mulryan, suggested that the delivery of PRS accommodation in Dublin will need to grow substantially to comprise up to half of the new builds in the city centre, if the needs of business and the wider economy and society are to be met.

He said: “Building high-quality residential accommodation for people in Dublin is really important, particularly when you look at the economy in terms of the growth of tech businesses. You naturally end up with a more mobile workforce, people who are very happy to live in rental accommodation. There’s a huge lack of that in Dublin.”

“One of the challenges with a house builder is that you’ve got to take the risk that if you’re building 300 homes, you’ve got to find 300 customers when you’re finished, or you’ve got to find 100 individual customers per year. commented CEO of Cairn Homes, Michael Stanley.

“I think that’s the thing people don’t fully appreciate. The risk level in house-building is higher. That’s why funders or banks that support builders are understandably much more nervous.”

What makes funders and banks far less nervous is the build-to-rent (BTR) model in which large-scale residential developments, typically apartments, are delivered to the market in one fell swoop rather than in phases, and to one purchaser.

In the last 12 months alone, hundreds of new apartments distributed across several Dublin schemes have been acquired by institutional investors with a view to offering them to the rental market.