The Property Show 2024

RDS Ballsbridge Dublin Ireland

Clare Connolly


The Challenges Buyers are facing in Ireland in 2024

Photo: Clare Connolly with Minister Darragh O’Brien (Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage)


Currently, we are delivering about 30,000 homes but the Government now acknowledge that this figure should be closer to 50,000. Government policy over the last number of years has pushed institutional investors out of the market. The rent cap (rent pressure zones) introduced in 2021 have acted as a deterrent in attracting foreign capital to build new homes. The rent cap coupled with the interest rate hikes means that it is no longer financially viable for them to build, particularly to build apartments in Ireland. The return is not there. The State has had to step in, and apartment building is now driven by State funding with councils approved housing bodies and The Land Development Agency. The Government will have to continue buying stock from the private sector to ensure housebuilding is maintained.


While most of the attention has been on new homes, there is a distinct lack of second-hand homes on the market. The total number of second-hand homes on the market in January of this year was just 11,000. (In 2019, there were 24,200 on the market). Sellers are reluctant to put their property on the market for sale as they are finding it almost impossible to find a property to buy. It’s also difficult to secure a short term let and they can be costly. Since the downturn in 2007, Irish banks have stopped giving out bridging loans which would have allowed borrowers to finance the gap between buying and selling, so you can understand why people are very slow to put their existing home on the market until they have secured a new purchase which obviously cuts off the supply of second-hand homes for sale. Lastly, a lot of property owners are choosing to renovate rather than move. This is a booming business! Bear in mind that the Government grants for upgrading energy ratings provides another incentive for householders to renovate their existing property.


Ireland’s employment market is extremely healthy, unemployment rate in Dec at 4.9% virtually full employment. There is a very strong cashflow in the economy, the savings are still there post covid, adding to the number of buyers that can afford to bid over the asking price. Our personal balance sheet is very strong with 153 billion in household savings, totally unlike 2008. This level of savings implies that a lot of the market being driven by cash buyers.


The Irish population continues to grow rapidly. Net migration in the year to April 2023 was almost 77,000, the highest level since 2007. This trend will continue into 2024 which means that the Irish population is growing towards 5.3m people. When I carry out property viewings, particularly for apartment sales, so many of the viewers are ‘new Irish’, South African, Chinese, Brazilian, Indian all who have made Ireland their home, and while it is great to see this, it places a huge strain on the number of buyers pulling from a very small pool of properties. While the main focus is on apartment building with Government incentives such as the New Home Scheme and Shared Equity Scheme for first time buyers, there is no real focus on the second-hand market where it is equally challenging for people trading down or attempting to trade up. However, I am optimistic that the Central Bank will begin to reduce interest rates in the second half of this year. We may then see more urgently needed second hand stock coming onto the market.

Clare Connolly March 2024