Could empty nesters be crucial to solving the housing crisis?

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Another day, another light shone on the housing system. Influential think-tank ESRI published its latest quarterly economic commentary this morning, and as usual it has a host of useful nuggets. In the midst of the housing shortage, its suggestion, as Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports, that two-thirds of homes in Ireland are under-occupied catches the eye. The suggestion that more than a million homes in the State have more rooms than residents need is sure to get tongues wagging. It also comes a day after Daft.ie said the supply of second hand homes is at the lowest level in at least 17 years.

The ESRI’s research and the Daft report are in some ways related. If empty nesters aren’t downsizing, then that would likely contribute to the low level of people selling their homes at present. According to ESRI, more than 88 per cent of people aged over 65 lived in under-occupied housing. But do people have adequate options to downsize to? It appears not. There are also many factors that contribute to why people would move to a smaller home, and that won’t work for everybody. Nor should people be ever “forced” to move home. Still, it is yet another factor to be considered in the ongoing housing shortage.

The ESRI report also presents a healthy outlook for the Irish economy, with inflation slowing and the labour remaining strong. Eoin has the details.

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The chief executive of builder Cairn Homes saw his total remuneration increase by more than €800,000 last year, while his counterpart at peer group Glenveagh Properties saw his fall by more than €100,000, the companies’ annual reports show. Colin Gleeson has read the reports.

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