Betting the house: Ireland is poised for a spike in apartment building, but is this a feasible way to solve the housing crisis, and what does it mean for would-be homeowners?

A comprehensive analysis of the country’s housing pipeline has shown the construction of smaller apartments is in line to significantly outstrip the development of houses in the coming years

High rise means high prices: the viability question is very much an issue because in order to build you have to charge very high rents, which are unaffordable for most people. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Forty years ago last month, a story was broadcast on RTÉ News about a new phenomenon being driven by “foreigners and farmers”. Ken MacDonald remembers it well, as it was based on research produced by his estate agency that showed a new trend emerging in 1981. The number of apartments being sold had almost doubled, albeit from a low base, to 717. And the majority of the sales were in Dublin.

"Foreigners and farmers are ...