The chief executive of Cairn Homes — one of the largest home builders in the State —said that shortages of labour are not standing in the way of more housebuilding but that it will nonetheless take time for the industry to respond to the demand for homes that first-time buyers can afford.
Michael Stanley, who co-founded the stock market-listed firm four years ago, said that though only around 21,000 homes were built last year that labour shortages were not “a serious constraint” but attracting more young people into the industry was required.
“I do not know how people can think we have got a really serious constraint when we are only building 21,000 homes,” he told reporters.
He said it was a significant achievement for Cairn to bring sites through the planning process last year, but that even large Strategic Development Zones take time to build out homes.
There was an opportunity for the homebuilding industry to double output but that “a myriad of reasons” stood in the way of a very quick response, including the industry attempting to try to scale up, access to mortgage finance, and infrastructure gaps, Mr Stanley told reporters.
He said that bringing forward a programme for the electrification for the railways before 2027 would help substantially to bring on development.
The election last month put the spotlight on housing and homelessness and most experts say that only 25,000 homes will be built this year — well short of the estimated 35,000 units that are required to be built to start meeting demand.
Cairn Homes, which focuses on the Dublin region but has a development site in Cork, with plans to expand further in Kilkenny and Galway, posted a 2019 operating profit of €68m on revenues of €435m.
Mr Stanley said that the price of its three-bed starter homes sold at an average of €360,000 last year. It could, from its land bank, deliver 4,700 homes at prices between €250,000 and €300,000, and 3,900 homes at between €300,000 and €350,000.
Cairn Homes shares rose 2.6% in the latest session, bringing losses in the past year to 4%.
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