Cairn Homes (CRN.L), Ireland’s largest residential construction firm, said on Tuesday that the country’s housing crisis would allow it to build a sustainable business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Notwithstanding the impact of the pandemic on our operations, the resilience of the business has shone through in recent months,” said chief executive Michael Stanley in a trading update.
Referring to the formation of a new government in June that has put homebuilding at the core of its programme amid a longstanding housing crisis and years of undersupply, Stanley said that serving the market for aspiring homeowners and delivering apartments in urban centres would be the “clear focus” of its activities in years to come.
Cairn Homes reopened 15 of its residential construction sites in May, and Stanley said that sales interest had picked up “appreciably” in recent months.
Ireland has been contending with a housing crisis for several years, and the issue became a key flashpoint in February’s general election.
At the lower levels of the market, these problems have contributed to a worsening homelessness crisis, with more than 10,000 people thought to be without a home.
In recent years, the catalog of complainants has swelled to include those from Ireland’s business, political, and policy-making sectors.
Housing is thought to be one of the critical pressure points limiting the country’s economic expansion. Expert groups have warned that the housing stock in the country has been insufficient to meet demand since the end of the country’s recession in 2011.
Meanwhile, large firms have continually warned that high housing costs in Dublin are the single greatest handicap to living and working in the city.
The country’s new coalition government has promised a new housing commission, planning reforms, as well as new affordable home packages.
While the coronavirus crisis has dented activity in the construction section and sales are likely to fall significantly this year, firms are thus looking to the future with a degree of optimism.
“The construction of affordable housing at scale for aspiring homeowners who currently find it difficult to get mortgage approval and the delivery of apartment schemes in and around our urban centres and employment zones remain the two significant but not insurmountable challenges,” said Stanley.