Lessons to learn from Ireland?

A report by Policy Exchange in 2005 looks at how Ireland responded to a shortage of housing. Sounds a bit like where this Government may end up:

Despite the impressive increase in housing supply, there are more and more voices questioning the assumption that a successful housing supply policy consists of delivering numbers only. Dr Stevenson is highly critical of what Irish planning and development have achieved over recent years. …

What did this quick fix solution look like? It basically consisted of delivering large numbers of units in a very short time. First, large numbers of flats – something the
Irish were not used to – went up, in the form of large apartment-blocks. Second, whole new housing colonies were built, often consisting of hundreds of virtually
identical semi-detached or terraced houses lacking any individual character. …

His observation is confirmed by Ronan O’Driscoll, the Director of the Dublin new homes division of Hamilton Osborne King, Ireland’s market leader in real estate.86 He remembers that when he started to work in the real estate business some fifteen years ago, around 45 per cent of new houses were ‘family houses’, i.e.
houses with a floor space of around 125 m2. This proportion
has now fallen to less than 5 per cent.

Liam O’Donnell from the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers adds: “Spacious three bedroom houses of good quality are currently not being built in the Greater Dublin area.” To sum up, in the words of Dr Brendan Williams: “The quantity of our supply is very, very good. The quality leaves a lot to be desired.”

I like what Labour is proposing with an urban building authority and removing Auckland’s urban/rural boundary. But having the Government build 4,000 homes on a 29 hectare block doesn’t sound like a recipe for quality.

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