More smaller council homes needed in Laois for elderly to downsize

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Official opening of Conniberry Way council estate in Portlaoise in 2018, a third of the houses have two bedrooms.

Official opening of Conniberry Way council estate in Portlaoise in 2018, a third of the houses have two bedrooms.

Laois needs more one and two bedroom homes so people can downsize, and Laois County Council is planning to acquire them.

Speaking at the February council meeting, Housing Officer Michael Rainey said they need more smaller homes in their stock.

“It is great that we overreached our target of homes in Laois in 2018, but the problem we have is that we have an ageing population, the number of people in Ireland aged over 65 will hit 1.4million by 2040. A recent report found that 100,000 would downsize if the opportunity arose,” he said.

“We need more one and two bedroom homes. A lot of our stock of 2,200 houses are three bedroom two storey. The challenge is to build one and two bedroom units. That will in turn release a three bedroom supply. It is a big challenge but we will keep focusing on it,” he said.

He listed the advantages of downsizing.

“Property tax would be lower, and heating costs would be lower,” he said.

Laois delivered 141 council homes in 2018, a mix of building, buying and leasing, ahead of its government set target of 76 units, and the second highest delivery rate by a local authority in Ireland.

The only estate they built and opened in Portlaoise in 2018 was Conniberry Way, where 10 of the 33 homes have two bedrooms.