Things can only get better as housing completions rise and construction costs ease

Around the Block: 1,250 property professionals gather at the Clayton Burlington Hotel for SCSI annual dinner

While there are understandable concerns over where we are going to find the construction workers and the foreign investment to build the 50,000 homes, numerous commentators now believe we need to meet the demands of our growing population, there was a palpable feeling of optimism at the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland’s recent annual dinner in Dublin’s Clayton Burlington Hotel.

Housing completions are up (32,695 last year), commencements are up, and the annual rate of commercial construction cost inflation is now at a far more manageable 3.9 per cent, having tumbled from the dizzying height of 11.5 per cent in 2022, according to the SCSI’s latest Tender Price Index.

There was certainly a buzz in the room as the 1,250 property, land and construction professionals partied and networked enthusiastically. And with comedian Deirdre O’Kane providing the entertainment, there was no shortage of laughs to be had. On the night most of the talk on the property side concerned the perennial lack of supply while on the construction side the main issue was sourcing skilled construction workers.

That was a challenge SCSI president Enda McGuane picked up on as he called for concerted action to address the skills shortage in his speech. The former army officer said the shortages presented opportunities to develop new pathways for workers, to work in new areas, and to address the gender imbalance across the construction sector as well as the ongoing lack of diversity in the industry.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times