This week, Prime Time asked a question on our social media channels: what impact is the rise in construction costs having on house building?
Thanks to the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine, the price of building materials has surged in recent months. For those whose homes are already under construction, the inflation is making it difficult to cross the finish line.
And those who have planned to build in the near future are worried that they will no longer be able to afford their homes.
We are a couple based in Cork. Last year, we drew up plans for a 2,300 sq ft, four-bedroom, two-storey house. When we drew up the plans, we were going off a price of €270,000 for a builder's finish. Around the same time, a neighbour got a quote from a contractor for a similarly shaped 2,500 sq ft build of €267,000 to builder's finish.
Because of further information requests for planning, we only received permission at the start of January 2022. We then got our construction drawings done and went to tender in March 2022.
We got a quote from the same builder of €363,000 last week. That's nearly €100,000 of a difference in less than 12 months.
The most frustrating part of that price is €43,000 of VAT attached, which is nearly €10,000 more in VAT than the price of €267,000, meaning that, alongside the rise in materials cost, there is also an increase in tax.
We are now applying for a mortgage exemption of 4.5x income, along with doing work ourselves – and are still struggling to come up with enough money to start.
Also while, ordinarily, in a similar position, we would apply for permission to change the design to reduce the size, we are afraid the delays caused by that – and ever increasing costs – will mean we will be in an even worse position. That, combined with predictions of two more years of inflation, means it's most likely that we need to build now or wait several years before considering it again.
'They're going to stop working' - Inflation hits building firms
We are building an extension to our 1830s bungalow, but we're unsure if we'll have the funds to finish it. Everything from timber, to electrical works, insulation, slabs, doors etc – nothing is coming in under budget.
We are roof level now with timber going on as we speak. Our budget is €87,000, but it will probably be closer to €100,000.
I can't go back to the bank to ask for more money, since we will be tight to meet the repayments on the top-up for the extension. We could try and finish it later, but we're tight for space as things stand. We're a family of four with another on the way in June.
I am one of the lucky ones, in that I'm a plumber by trade and I've been able to call in favours from friends and colleagues to help out for free.
We have an old bungalow that we wanted to fix up and make more comfortable. The house is damp and we have a newborn so it's not ideal.
When we first drew up plans in 2019/2020 it included an upstairs level, four decent-sized bedrooms and an office.
We have had to downsize the plans to try to stick to a budget. We no longer have an office and the main bathroom and two of the bedrooms have been significantly decreased in size.
We started looking for a builder in October, but the price had gone up by €133,000 from the previous pricing we got six months earlier. It also didn't include any flooring, sanitary-ware or the kitchen.
We have been left with no choice but to wait until prices fall. So we are living in a damp, cold home until we are able to afford the renovations. It’s disappointing, especially as it is no longer our dream home because of all the changes we had to make.