The Republic of Ireland needs to build at least 35,000 homes every year to keep up with population growth, a major new report suggests.

It adds that in a “high migration scenario” the number of necessary new homes could be as high as 53,000 per year.

The government’s current target is 33,000 but it has been known for some time that is too low.

Housing availability and cost is a major political and social issue in Ireland.

The report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) was commissioned by the Department of Housing and Local Government.

The work considers a range of population projections based on birth and death rates and various international migration assumptions.

It then estimates future housing demand based on these population projections, as well as a range of other assumptions including Ireland’s typical household size.

Adele Bergin, one of the authors, said: “Our research shows that on average, across a range of scenarios, around 44,000 new units a year are necessary to keep up with population growth.”

Her co-author Paul Egan said it should also be noted that all the scenarios they considered relate to future population-driven demand and do not factor in current pent-up demand.

The most recent figures, covering April 2022 to April 2023, suggest Ireland’s population grew by almost 100,000 people in a single year.

Most of the growth – some 77,600 people – came from net migration with the rest due to 20,000 more births than deaths.

Immigration was at its highest level since 2007, which mainly reflects the impact of Russia invading Ukraine.

House prices in Ireland are now nearly 10% more expensive than they were at the peak of the property boom in April 2007, according to the latest official figures.

Prices are up by more than 140% since their low point in early 2013 in the aftermath of the country’s banking crisis.

The median residential property price in April was €335,000 (£284,000).