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Tuath Housing: Delivering affordability at scale

Kiltiernan Wood cost rental development in Stepaside, Dublin.

Tuath is one of Ireland’s largest approved housing bodies with over 13,000 homes in management. Our commitment to strategic growth and collaboration has positioned Tuath as a partner of choice for the public and private sectors, aiding the delivery of high-quality homes and first-class services to residents.

A growing number of our tenants now live in a cost rental home delivered by Tuath. We plan to scale up cost rental operations to help meet the growing demand for affordable housing for the many people who cannot afford the private rental sector but who also do not qualify for social housing.

A strong foundation for delivery

Cost rental offers high-quality homes at affordable rents, calculated on a not-for-profit basis to cover the costs of delivering, managing, and maintaining the properties only. Apart from a discounted rent, the tenure also offers long-term security, high quality energy efficient homes with a responsive management service valued by customers.

Last year saw 2,482 homes added to Tuath’s owned and managed property portfolio, including 115 new, cost rental homes. To date, Tuath has delivered over 400 cost rental homes, with an additional 2,000 more in the pipeline, on site, or in planning.

Tuath’s cost rental delivery programme expanded outside Dublin with the successful provision of cost rental housing developments in Mullingar and Drogheda. Both developments were massively oversubscribed, highlighting the huge demand for this new, secure form of housing tenure. In 2024, Tuath will deliver almost 500 cost rental homes in new housing developments in Fingal, Dublin City, South Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Westmeath, and Wicklow.

Tuath’s CEO, Sean O’Connor, commented: “The cost rental initiative is an important step in improving housing affordability and security to households who could not otherwise achieve it. We are laser focused on expanding its delivery across the country, bringing a high quality and secure rental option to more people and creating choice in a market that shuts out too many.”

Achieving scale through partnership

The selection of approved housing bodies (AHBs), such as Tuath, to deliver projects under the Government’s Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) initiative acknowledges the expertise and capacity of AHBs across the housing sector. We are experts at working in partnership, collaborating with local authorities, developers, and financial institutions, to leverage all available resources to deliver locally tailored, high-quality housing solutions on the ground.

Partnerships play a crucial role in delivering large scale, mixed tenure developments. These developments typically include a mix of cost rental, social, and private housing, creating balanced and thriving communities. In Stepaside, County Dublin, Tuath in collaboration with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council delivered 96 new homes via a mix of social and cost rental housing in just under a year from start-on-site, as part of the wider 200 plus home Kiltiernan Wood estate. At Parklands in Citywest, south Dublin, 52 families moved into their new homes last year, building upon the 44 cost rental homes previously delivered by Tuath at the same scheme. The overall Parklands development will comprise 1,010 homes on completion.

An important construction project commenced at Citywest late last year in partnership with Ardstone Ltd and South Dublin County Council. The project will contain 290 homes, including 137 apartments for social housing and 153 apartments for cost rental. Tuath leveraged its access to competitive, long-term fixed finance rates via the Housing Finance Agency and The Housing Agency to forward fund the project, removing expensive development finance and helping to reduce costs and lower outturn rents for cost rental tenants.

Forward funding not only accelerates project delivery timelines but also provides financial stability and predictability, crucial for long-term planning. By leveraging forward funding, Tuath plans to scale operations to meet growing housing needs across Ireland.

Claí Mór, Galway’s first cost rental development, is being constructed using a light gauge steel system.

Innovation and housing diversity

Over 1,000 Tuath homes last year were delivered via modern methods of construction (MMC). MMC offers many advantages, including reduced construction times, lower costs, and minimal environmental impact. We will continue to foster MMC with a focus on increasing the number of homes being provided via off site manufacturing in the coming years to aid speedy delivery at best value whilst minimising the impact on the environment. Such projects completed to date are high quality, have been delivered promptly whilst producing cost savings.

The conversion of Springville House from office to residential in partnership with Cork City Council is a prime example of sustainable development incorporating modern methods of construction. Through the use of light gauge steel systems and environmentally friendly materials, a derelict office block’s structural integrity was enhanced, and its carbon footprint minimised during construction. Currently underway in Galway, the Claí Mór development will deliver 102 A-rated homes which will also employ light gauge steel frameworks to optimise efficiency, reduce construction time, and minimise environmental impact.

MMC can also accelerate high-density projects. 56 per cent of Tuath’s delivery last year comprised of apartments and duplexes reflecting the changing dynamics of housing delivery. We believe that effective planning of well-located, multi-unit developments can help to evolve perceptions of apartment living, and contribute to the sustainability of affordable, urban-living communities in accommodation suited to household size and underlying population demographics.

With choice comes stability

As more cost rental homes become available, they provide an affordable alternative for middle-income households who do not qualify for social housing but struggle with market rents. This increased availability of affordable rental homes will help ease the demand on the private rental sector, contributing to more stable rent levels overall.

Additionally, cost rental housing can help moderate house prices by offering a viable long-term rental option, reducing the urgency for individuals and families to purchase homes as their only path to secure housing. A more balanced housing market means demand is evenly distributed between rental and ownership, helping to prevent the kind of price inflation that can occur when too many people are chasing too few homes.

Tuath’s Director of Development, Martin Loughran, emphasises the broader impact: “Cost rental developments create choice and diversity in the housing market and provide affordable homes that are urgently required. The intention is that delivery under this model, at scale, will stabilise the wider rental market.”

Affordable homes for sustainable futures

As we look to the future, Tuath remains dedicated to pioneering new approaches to housing delivery. Our focus on cost rental housing, large-scale mixed tenure developments utilising modern construction methods and environmentally sustainable practices will continue to drive our efforts to create vibrant, inclusive communities across Ireland.

We are committed to working closely with all our stakeholders and the communities we serve to ensure that everyone has access to a safe, affordable home. By leveraging our expertise and innovative approaches, we are confident that we can make a lasting impact on Ireland’s housing landscape, delivering homes that meet the diverse needs of the population and contribute to a more equitable society.