Home purchasing

An Bord Pleanala to block block buying of houses by institutional investors


An Bord Pleanala decided to block institutional investors from buying block houses in two large-scale residential projects with building permits.

In a decision granting a ‘quick’ building permit to the Ballycullen Ltd partnership for a € 113 million program comprising 329 residential units in Woodtown, Ballycullen in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains in south Dublin, the appeal board inserted a condition that all houses and duplex units in the development must be occupied by individual buyers.

As part of the conditions attached to the authorization, the appeals committee declares that houses and duplexes cannot be owned in the first place by a legal person.

Describing the reason for inserting the condition, the appeal board said the condition is in place to ensure that an adequate choice and supply of housing, including affordable housing, is in the common good.

The Ballycullen program consists of 140 townhouses, semi-detached and single houses as well as 132 two-bedroom and duplex apartments and 57 one-bedroom apartments.

Terms & Conditions

The board inserted a similar condition for houses and duplexes in a separate Strategic Housing Development (SHD) authorization for 102 houses at Monivea Rd, Ballybrit, Galway.

In this case, the Appeal Board granted a building permit to Sathel Ltd for 34 duplex units, 13 houses and 55 apartments.

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The council’s decision to impose the restriction that homes and duplexes cannot be bought by corporations and only by individual buyers follows an outcry earlier this year after it emerged that an entire housing estate in Co Kildare had been purchased by an institutional investor.

In the case of the Ballycullen project, the appeal board granted a building permit after its inspector in the case concluded that the project generally achieves a high quality design and finish while using in a manner optimal zoned land.

As part of the Dublin 16 site project, the developers put a price of 12.4 million euros on 36 units they identified for social housing for sale to South Dublin County Council. The average cost of each accommodation is € 345,305.

Negotiations with the Town Hall to reach a final price can now take place with a building permit granted.


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