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Housing Agency host Build-to-Rent Lecture

Housing Agency host Build-to-Rent Lecture
21 Sep 2016

Speakers at the lecture included Alexandra Notay, Independent Advisor and author of over 30 books and reports on real estate including the renowned ULI UK Best Practice Guide on Build-to-Rent (2014 and 2016), Mr Aidan Culhane, chartered town planner advising on housing and planning matters at WK Nowlan Real Estate Advisors, and Niall Cussen, Principal Adviser of Planning in the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. The lecture was chaired by Dr. Conor Skehan, Chairman of the Housing Agency.

Ms Notay, a renowned conference speaker on the subject of Build-to-Rent looked at US and UK Build-to-Rent models. She shared many ideas of the ULI and how the Build-to-Rent really works. She advised those in attendance of different models used in the UK and US, how these have a hugely positive effect on rents, confidence and a community. She stressed repeatedly, that the tenant must feel that they are renting the whole complex and not just their unit. During her presentation, she said, 

“Today we’re talking about the critically important ‘build-to-rent’ model – a distinct type of rental housing that is owned and operated in a new way, much more focussed around the tenant as a customer. Build to Rent, draws on the ‘multifamily’ model that is common in the US, but also reflects best practice from Europe. There’s a huge appetite in the UK for Build to Rent, from institutional investors who like the stable, long-term returns from this asset class, but also from Local Authorities who see it as an effective way of delivering much-needed housing supply across a range of tenures, at scale and to a high quality standard.”

Responding to Ms. Notay, Mr Culhane gave an Irish perspective on the potential of build-to-rent from a policy point of view, especially in the context of longer tenancies, with more people renting in urban areas in particular. He focused on the importance of everyone working collaboratively, stressing that certain stakeholders must not take advantage for their own personal financial gain. Mr Culhane gave an impressive overview on the policy implications, opportunities and challenges of applying build-to-rent models in Ireland.

“Today’s lecture will help give perspective on a wide range of issues associated with build-to-rent models. Today, we’re exploring the potential of Build-to-Rent from a policy perspective and on the demographic context for Ireland. There are also challenges to consider, in particular complex funding, financing and viability challenges of the Build-to-Rent model. There are significant changes that the planning process needs to undertake to understand and accommodate Build-to-Rent construction. But it is clear from other jurisdictions that the desire from institutional investors to get involved.” said Mr Culhane.

Mr. Cussen, who was representing the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government spoke about how he is working with the Government, to bring the Build-to-Rent model to fruition. 


Mr John O’Connor, CEO of the Housing Agency said:

“Today’s lecture brings together a range of housing stakeholders to learn from national and international experience of how build-to-rent models work internationally and here at home. Ireland is moving quickly towards the rental levels seen in many other European countries. We therefore must focus our attention on the needs and expectations of those who choose or need to rent. Housing policy, other than social housing provision, has focused primarily on supporting owner-occupied housing. We need to support rental housing in the same way. Residential developers and builders in Ireland have operated on a build-to-sell model and have remained within this narrow approach. Today, the Housing Agency lecture will hear from experts in this area, and explore ways in which we can seek to move beyond our current models.”