The Irish housing system has been through more changes in the last decade than in the previous nine. Following global trends in countries with similar economic and political policies, Ireland has moved rapidly from a country of mostly domestically-funded home-owners to one in which we see a sizeable increase in overseas funders and funding, and a commensurate increase in housing development that is more lucrative than traditional house-building: student housing and build-to-rent, for example. New credit limits on purchasers and tighter lending limits on potential developers have restricted the market for house sales. Social housing output is very low when its need is greatest. Alongside this, private equity sees greater investment potential in renting property over the long-term than building property to sell. Policy changes have facilitated this. Our socio-economic system of asset-based welfare, however, in which one’s home is one’s security in older age, is arguably not prepared for this.

The range of stakeholders with an interest in housing is broad, yet invariably only a few perspectives get heard. The thrust of this doctoral research is to capture the major elements of what a housing system should do and for whom. It will use a multi-perspective methodology to capture both supply and use-side theories on functionality and long-term sustainability. International case studies will also form a part of the research.