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Rising costs stalling construction of homes in Clare

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PLANNING permission was granted for 605 new residential units in Clare last year, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

Of that number 45 were apartments, with the remainder being for houses and should all these developments be built, they would accommodate around 1600 people, going by the average household size recorded in the last census.

It would be a welcome boost given the housing shortage in Clare at the moment, but Councillor Joe Cooney said that the rising costs of materials is a huge problem now.

“Things are busy, but they have quietened a bit and that’s because of the cost of materials. The cost of materials has simply gone crazy. Unfortunately it’s going to prevent young people from building houses with the way it’s gone.”

He said that in the last 12 months certain materials have come close to 100% increases in price, while others have seen a 30-50% jump.

Despite the huge increases, he says it is not particularly difficult to source the materials.

“Some products are getting scarcer, but it’s not really that hard to get the materials, although you might have to wait a day or two.

“My belief is it’s the cost that’s involved in getting them to the hardware yards or whatever and then the cost of getting them out to the locations that they have to go to, that probably had a bearing.”

He said that it is causing huge problems for young people who were all set to build homes.

“I’m aware of people that have planning permission got and are not in a position to carry out the project because of the cost. I’m also aware of people who have mortgages got to build houses, but now with the cost increases, the mortgage they’ve got is not capable of covering what they want to achieve.”

Larger developments are also being slowed, he says.

“Housing developments have slowed down a bit too, the cost of construction and developing a site, that’s going to slow it down because of the cost they need to get for the houses to cover their bills.”

There is no apparent answer to the problems in the sector. “I don’t know where the solution is. There will have to be intervention from the Government if they can help out.

“Maybe a grant to a couple building a house might help the situation, but that’s not going to bring down the cost of materials, and of course there is a scarcity of labour.

“In certain trades it’s hard to get the labour, because younger people are not doing apprenticeships, definitely haven’t in recent years. Now there’s an effort trying to encourage young people to take up trades which would be great for construction, but whether it happens or not is another day’s work.”

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