A photo of a row of empty newly-built houses in Dublin was featured on page 4 of the Times’s Bricks & Mortar supplement of 14 May. According to the accompanying article, “a recent estimate suggested that there were 345,000 empty homes in Ireland”. Why? Is it because there are no people living in substandard housing in Ireland? Or because the housing problem has been solved there? Neither. It’s because there’s no market – no paying demand – for them. The people who need better housing or to move house cannot afford to pay. It’s as simple as that.