Viewpoint - 17/11/2020

Will housing design in Ireland change in a post-Covid world?

Philip Lennon, Associate Director of Valuation at LSH, discusses the possibility that lockdown restrictions imposed upon us in 2020 may have shifted homebuyer behaviour in Ireland

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Since the onset of Coronavirus, LSH have valued residential development sites the length and breadth of Ireland, which will provide over 3000 new homes when developed. Our recent experiences in valuing these sites have shown that the lockdown conditions imposed upon us have resulted in a shift and refocussing of homebuyer behaviour. 
In the early stages of the pandemic it was obvious that a relatively high proportion of Irish professionals who are working from home required a more dedicated work space. This encouraged some housing developers, as well as other businesses, to respond to the expected pickup in demand for home office space. For instance, developer D|RES has changed its four bedroom showhouse in Eastmount in Delgany, County Wicklow, to now include a home office. Furthermore, Marlet recently commenced construction of 253 apartments at Green Acre Grange in Kilmacud. In response to the pandemic, this development has been adapted with hygiene in mind and is to incorporate touch free building access, top of the range ventilation systems and antibacterial door hardware.

So, what are the key questions?

  • Is this the beginning of a complete redesign of our typical housing stock in Ireland or a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to changing buyer demands?
  • Will purchasers start to require more outdoor space than is stipulated by the planning authorities?
  • Could we see an appetite for porches, foyers and other entrance vestibules that ease the transition from outside to inside the home?
  • Will apartment developments of the future incorporate larger private balconies to combat quarantine-induced feelings of isolation?
  • Will there be a need for a better data backbone to support 5G technology and residents’ increasing demands in bandwidth?

Whilst we have seen subtle design changes since the onset of the pandemic, ultimately developers are not designing for tomorrow; they are designing for three years from now.  It is widely recognised that the pandemic is a once in a lifetime situation and it would therefore be expected / hoped that by 2023 the worst of coronavirus will be behind us. The recent announcements by Pfizer and Moderna that a vaccine is imminent gives great encouragement that an end is in sight. There will unquestionably be some changes to housing design as a result of positive learnings through the pandemic however as new developments often take several years to materialise, in my opinion, most of the coronavirus effects on homes and home usage will fade as the vaccine is rolled out. Therefore, as we edge ever closer to the ‘old normal’, I expect that the future of housing design in Ireland will remain closer to the status quo as opposed to anything more radical.

For more information and confidential advice please contact our LSH Ireland Valuation team here. Alternatively, please call Philip Lennon on +353 86 029 0748. 



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