The FG Deputy Leo Varadker was busy recently asking Ministers of State what information they had provided to NAMA to assist with the valuation of LEV as per the Statutory Instrument 88. On 23rd March, 2010 he tabled written questions to four Ministers about the information provided under the aegis of their respective departments. The questions and answers are shown here but in summary, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey told Leo using parliamentary language to feck off, Minister of Finance Brian Lenihan told Leo to feck off but in more polite terms but Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Michael Finneran gave a full answer which made reference to draft Regional Planning Guidelines which set out population and housing projections for the period 2010-2022. The Guidelines have been published in draft form for public consultation. There isn’t a national summary so for those who are interested in the detail you can find the Guidelines here
The Guidelines address housing needs for the planning areas but one area which must be of concern is the population estimates being used by the regions. Below is summarised the projections being used for 2010, 2016 and 2022. All authorities are using the guidance issued by the DoEHLG in 2009 which in turn is closely aligned with the CSO projections in December 2008. The DoEHLG issued their population projections last year and produced high and low estimates for 2022. They have apparently advised regions that the low estimate is the most probable at this stage. However is the low estimate still unrealistically high and if so, is a likely consequence that NAMA will conclude there will be greater demand (and consequently prices) than will be the case? The 2008 CSO projections only considered two migration scenarios for the State in the period up to 2026 – 0 net migration and 600,000 net inward migration. I would contend that a third scenario which examined net outward migration was at least justified. Given that 450,000 net migrated inward during the 1994 – 2008 period, is it just possible that there could be substantial net outward migration in the aftermath of our downturn?
If migration continues at the level for the year ending April 2009 (a net of minus 8000) then the State might only have a population of 4,775,000 in 2022 – 500,000 less than suggested by the DoEHLG and at a future projection of 2.4 souls per dwelling we would need an extra 100,000 dwellings from today not 300,000.
The Mid-west region appears to be considering lower population estimates but it is presently the only region doing so. Worrying.