Mortgage drawdowns in Q1 2021 reached their strongest levels since 2007 according to published data from the Banking and Payments Federation.

The strong demand, together with the depleted outlook for 2021 housing completions is likely to keep the upward pressure on house prices in place, highlighting the need for social housing projects to meet overall housing demand.

BDO and Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) released the results of their 2020 Annual Private & Voluntary Nursing Home Survey last week. The report noted that in recent times, smaller nursing homes around the country have made the voluntary decision to close due to financial headwinds, the financial implications of achieving regulatory compliance, the absence of a successor in a family run home and more recently, the implications of Covid-19.

These issues highlight the importance of economies of scale in the nursing home sector and the demise of smaller nursing homes is a challenge for the sector and will have a knock-on impact on residents and their choice of home.

The report stressed several important changes across the sector over recent years.

Since the initial 2014 survey, there has been an increase of 4% in the number of homes (437 in 2014 to 453 in Sept 2020). There has also been a 17.4% increase in the number of beds with the average size of homes increasing from 51 to 58 beds, underlining the trend towards more financially viable “bigger” nursing homes that benefit from economies of scale.

The report highlighted that the population of over 65’s (currently estimated to be 720,200) is expected to grow to over one million by 2031. This combination of the closure of smaller nursing homes and an ageing population will no doubt drive increasing demand for nursing home facilities.