The cost of building new apartments is now so high that it puts them beyond affordability for most first-time buyers, according to a new study.

The report also found that the same situation applies to renting, with rents required to be set at unsustainably high levels for new build-to-rent schemes to be viable.

The analysis, carried out by EY-DKM Economic Advisory on behalf of Cork Chamber and the Construction Industry Federation, focused on the cost appraisals of four different apartment schemes across Cork.

The study found up to 56% of the overall construction price of apartments comes from the physical costs, with a further third of the sales price going to the State.

When all the outgoings are taken together, the delivery cost of a new apartment drives a sales and rental price far above what a first-time buyer working couple can afford, the report claims.

Such a situation threatens the future economic growth in Ireland's cities, it states.

Apartment building is now the number one issue for members of Cork Chamber, the organisation states.

The report says immediate Government action is needed to address the shortage of affordable apartments in cities, and calls for 16 actions including an extension of the Help-to-Buy Scheme and expansion of the Living City Initiative.