“Lanes such as Baily’s Lane, Ashgrove Lane, Looney’s Lane, Convent Place, Vincent’s Avenue, St. Ann’s Square, Wolfe Tone Place, part of Wolfe Tone Street, Croft’s Lane, Skeye’s Lane, Donovan’s Lane and Hogan’s Lane were to be demolished and their occupants moved to the new houses. Work on the development commenced before the end of 1932 and by the middle of the following year the sky-line had been transformed…” Colman O’Mahony; In the Shadows: Life in Cork 1750-1930, p302

Housing – Policy

Housing is now a critical issue of national importance. The European Commission’s Country Report Ireland 2015 notes the recent national increases in house prices, are largely driven by housing supply shortages, which could ultimately hamper economic competitiveness and lead to affordability issues.  A NESC report entitled, Social Housing at the Crossroads: Possibilities for Investment, Provision and Cost Rental (June 2014), stressed that serious problems were evident in social-housing provision. 

The Report of the Social Inclusion Forum 2014, published by the Department of Social Protection, suggests that homelessness in Ireland is at a ‘crisis point’ and with demand for housing greatly outstrips supply, the problem is likely to worsen. Recognising the need for urgent action, the government have recently launched Rebuilding Ireland – Action Plan for Housing (2016), a detailed set of actions designed to reinvigorate the housing market. Construction 2020: A Strategy for a Renewed Construction Sector, and the Social Housing Strategy 2020: Support, Supply and Reform, the DECLG, are two other government policy responses centred on delivering a more efficient and equitable housing market.

The housing market in Cork City mirrors the issues and challenges faced by the state. A recent ESRI Research Note, Projected Population Change and Housing Demand: A County Level Analysis (Edgar Morgenroth, 2014), projected that Cork City and County areas will have a demand for in excess of 22,000 new housing units up to 2021. The challenge of resolving supply shortage issues at local level are complicated by the complexity of how the housing market operates and the number of different stakeholders involved. Never the less, it is incumbent on this LECP to clearly recognise the role local agencies can play in delivering focused actions to help address the current housing supply crisis. 

Housing – Stats and Facts

Over 65% of households living in the City Centre are in private rental homes

The most recent Census data shows that Cork City had over 47,163 households in 2011, an increase of 7.5% since 2006. Over 14% (8,045 units) were unoccupied, mainly located in and around the city centre. Nearly half (48%) of all households in the city are two persons, being a significantly higher rate than the average for the State (39%). One in three houses was privately rented, compared to less than one in five for the State.  Only one in five houses in the city were occupied by an owner with a mortgage, a decline of 27% since 2002. 

Local Authority rentals accounted for 17% (7,260 units) of the total housing units in the city in 2011, being heavily concentrated in or bordering the four RAPID designated areas in the city. Over 65% of households in the city centre live in private rental accommodation, being significantly higher than the city wide average (27%) and the average for the four designated RAPID areas (11%). Cork City’s Social Housing Investment Programme (SHIP) was cut from €54 million in 2009 to €5 million in 2011.