With the well publicised housing shortage in urban areas there has never been a better time for a new housing model to be seriously considered in Ireland. A suggestion which has been proposed is that of the US multi-family unit, a purpose-built, community-orientated development providing a high level of services to the occupants with units that are solely intended to be rented both long-term and short-term. Such models will be attractive to funds and investors who have property income-generating goals rather than capital return goals.
The key functionality of these units is the provision of common areas and amenities within the building to enable residents to use common kitchens/entertainment areas and thereby reducing the overall unit size. Some higher-end units will also consider providing furniture, household equipment rental offers and suitable loading bays to facilitate residents when moving in and out of the building.
This model is also adaptable to social housing and planning authorities may be able to consider the imposition of covenants that the property is to be permanently rented. Such a model has been introduced in Westminster with success. With the growing number of funds actively acquiring developments with a view to floating on the stock exchanges, the time is right for both government, local authorities and developers to consider this option as a viable solution to the housing shortage and increasing pressures on the Irish rental market.