Thursday, 11 April 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Simon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
That is a very interesting question. We are trying to increase supply in the property market to ensure that where possible we see a rental market changing for the better, where large commercial landlords are part of that rental market, providing a professional service at a fair and affordable price. One of the flaws in the Irish rental market is that approximately 85% of all landlords own only one property. In respect of standards and responsibilities that landlords need to take on in law it becomes difficult to manage that. There is a role for investment funds to invest in the rental market in particular to increase supply significantly over a short space of time, which we need to do. The Government needs to be careful to monitor constantly the role and impact of outside investment in the property market here to make sure that it is proportionate and that it is adding positively to increasing supply.
As the Taoiseach repeats, we are a Government that supports home ownership and we want to make sure that people can afford to buy homes close to where they work. That is a supply issue. We need to build approximately 35,000 housing units a year. By the end of this year we hope to be close to 25,000 and increasing. It is a combination of more social and affordable homes and more affordable rental properties, all happening at the same time. Property funds can contribute positively to that but when there is a shortage of supply there is going to be competition between a private homeowner looking to purchase a property and commercial funds looking to increase their portfolios by providing more rental properties. The answer is to increase supply significantly but also to assess constantly the appropriate legislative protections that are needed to make sure that the contribution of international funds to increasing supply is as it should be because our property market is changing all the time.