(Bloomberg) -- Ireland must speed up its planning application system if it is to increase housing supply, the central bank warned as the country faces an acute residential dwellings shortage.

“It’s pretty obvious we need more housing,” Governor Gabriel Makhlouf said in an interview with the Irish Daily Mail newspaper Tuesday. “There are lots of planning applications in the pipeline — we need to find a way to get those from design to implementation faster.”

The housing crisis is one of the most pressing challenges Ireland currently faces. Demand outstrips supply in both the rental and buy market across the country. 

While housing supply has picked up recently, with almost 33,000 new dwelling completions in 2023, up 10% on 2022, according to the statistics office, more stock is still needed to meet demand. Decisions on 20,000 housing units in strategic developments are stuck in a logjam, Irish construction consultancy Mitchell McDermott said in its 2024 sector report, adding that another 8,000 are held up in judicial reviews.

The government is trying to streamline the planning process through a new bill that was initiated in November last year and is now undergoing parliamentary scrutiny. 

Housing is top priority for Ireland’s new prime minister Simon Harris, who pledged at his party conference earlier this month he’d ramp up supply. “I am of a generation where home ownership can feel out of the reach of many,” Harris said in his speech. “We will build 250,000 homes over the next five years.”

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