Dublin house prices are higher than levels in both Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and Frankfurt, one of Europe's leading financial centres, which is the location of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB).


December 2015 data from Numbeo.com and Deutsche Bank Research (DBR), show that in respect of apartment prices outside city centres above €2500 per square metre, Dublin was at a rank of 21 of 56 urban centres in Europe while London was at 1; Zurich 4; Paris 8; Copenhagen 30, Amsterdam 31; Frankfurt 35 and Brussels was at 45. Berlin did not qualify for the sample.

DBR commented in March 2016:

Munich remains by far the most expensive German city. However, measured by apartment prices outside the city centre, the price of around €5,000 per square metre for Munich does not even put it in the top ten of the most expensive European cities. Other German cities: Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf with prices of around €3,000 occupy the middle to lower places in the ranking of the 56 most expensive European cities.

Ronan Lyons, the Trinity College economist who analyses Daft.ie data, wrote in July 2013 in respect of Q2 2013:

The price per square metre metric...is commonly used throughout Europe but, for whatever reason, hasn't taken off in Ireland or the UK to the same extent. Fortunately, while not every listing on Daft.ie includes square metres, there have been almost 200,000 ads since 2006 that have.

The data showed that South Dublin had a ratio of €4,000 in Q2 2013 compared with €6,000 in Q1 2007.

Numbeo.com suggests that the average rent of a 1 bedroom apartment in Dublin city centre in 2016 is €1,225 compared with €766 in Brussels and €764 in Frankfurt.

Daft.ie's latest report in respect of Q1 2016 has an average rent of €1,187.

Numbeo.com has 111 Dublin data contributors; 44 in respect of Brussels and 27 for Frankfurt.

Frank McDonald, the former Environment Editor of The Irish Times, has an op-ed in the newspaper today on proposed Dublin City Council plans for raising the limits on residential high-rise buildings in areas of the city.

MacDonald wrote last March:

Thirty years ago, in February 1986, a group of us got together to stage the Dublin Crisis Conference. The city was in bits, chewed up by property speculators and road engineers, and desperately needed to be saved from the forces that were destroying it. [ ] For decades relentless suburbanisation had reduced the population of the inner city – that oval-shaped area between the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal – from a high of 250,000 in the mid-1920s to a low of just 75,000 in 1991. Only one in 12 Dubliners was left living in the historic core.

Property planning has been a national joke in Ireland for decades while it has been effectively the only area where local councillors have direct power.

Strategic thinking would be a good thing and while the Dublin City Council may overreach with its new high rise proposals, the effective ban on high rise for a half century was also an overreaction.

In the 1960's two "skyscraper" office developments were built in Ireland — Liberty Hall in Dublin and the County Hall in Cork. Also in the sixties, the building of a series of high rise blocks in Ballymun, North Dublin, were seen as a solution to a public housing crisis.

The experience at Ballymun — public housing for young families with limited or no amenities — with no resident management to enforce rules that are essential in multi-unit residential buildings, and where no one had a personal stake in their units — was a social disaster that has led to what can be termed "Ballymun Syndrome."

High-rise buildings became a taboo in Ireland and apart from Ballymun, the process has been aided by a ramshackle /corrupt planning system and the power of Nimbies (not in my backyard) with a spectrum of interests.

Rezoning of land inevitably promoted corruption at ministerial and local level and fifteen years of public tribunal hearings have had a minor impact on how the system operates.

RTÉ’s Prime Time television programme highlighted in November 2007 the involvement of elected representatives in the land, development and property business.

A total of 22% of councillors dealt in or developed land through their day jobs as estate agents, landowners and builders. In Mayo, that figure rose as high as 45%; in Offaly it was 44% and in eight other counties it was 33% or more.

Prime Time found that in Clare, declarations of interest showed that 97% of elected members had no beneficial interest even in their family home. In ten counties, two-thirds or more of the councillors had not declared an interest in the family home.

Apartment prices Europe, EU, cities, 2016

Land rezoning has been a huge stealth tax and for landowners in County Dublin it has been manna from heaven thanks to artificial scarcity created by planning authorities.

When County Dublin's land prices rocketed 530% in 9 years

During the bubble most developments involved objections with demands for compensation or some free upgrading of adjacent areas.

Seán Dunne, the high profile developer wanted to build a 37storey tower on the site of the former Jurys Hotel in Ballsbridge but about a 200 metre walk from the site, on Shrewsbury Road where he lived, he objected to the demolition of the former Chester Beatty Library. A High Court judge was reported to have accused him of making a ‘‘spurious’’ complaint.

Dunne in turn faced a huge number of objections to his tower plan.

High rise is only one of many issues in the current housing crisis.

House ownership exclusion rising in UK, Ireland, elsewhere

Pic above: The new headquarters of the ECB in Franfurt.