I thank the Deputy for the question. Under the Government's Rebuilding Ireland action plan, my Department committed to undertaking a detailed analysis, in conjunction with the construction sector, to benchmark housing delivery input costs in Ireland in order to facilitate an increased level of housing output.
To advance this work, a working group, chaired by my Department, was established and has been specifically reviewing the delivery costs and viability for affordable residential developments in the domestic market. In parallel, the Housing Agency has been advancing a comparative analysis of international construction costs.
An executive summary of the working group's report was published last month to provide context for the review and update of the design standards for new apartments, which I will be finalising shortly. In summary, the report analyses each of the main input costs in order to make recommendations that may lead to economies. The inputs considered include: land; construction and build costs; professional fees; development levies and contributions; finance cost and development margins; and value-added tax.
Based on viability modelling, incorporating a level of development margin needed to secure development finance, one of the key findings of the report is that the viability of urban apartment schemes at affordable price levels is extremely challenging at present, while suburban housing schemes at similar price levels are marginally viable. The report points to a number of initiatives to address viability issues and therefore support increased supply.
Both my Department’s and the Housing Agency’s reports are being finalised at present and I expect to be in a position to publish them both shortly.