Dáil debates

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Housing Policy

9:44 am

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

On the Croí Cónaithe initiative, for the record there are nearly 500 applicants in already and many of them are processed. I am not sure what date that question response went up to. I welcome the Deputy's question. As the Deputy will be aware, Deputy Bruton has asked a similar question.

Housing for All, which is the Government's plan, has been debated in the House and people will be aware of it. It is to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per annum - we will need to exceed that - over the next decade. More than 300,000 new homes will be built under this plan by 2030, including 90,000 new social homes, at least 36,000 affordable purchase homes, and 18,000 cost rental. Housing for All supply is key to improving our housing system. Thankfully, that supply is increasing this year. We set a target of 24,600 this year. We will exceed that quite substantially. It is important people are aware of that.

There were 26,600 units commenced in the year to October 2022. That is a 14% decrease on the same period last year when 30,947 units were commenced. Notwithstanding that, an uplift in supply is forecast for 2023 and 2024 relative to 2021 and we are on track, as I said, to exceed our housing target for this year. While that is positive, we have to acknowledge that issues have emerged over recent months, including those arising from the war in Ukraine, the unprecedented inflationary pressures and rising interest rates. These are having an impact on the momentum of home delivery, as reflected in those commencement figures to which the Deputy referred. We are responding to these challenges. On 2 November, we published the first annual update of Housing for All. The update focuses on what we can effectively do to fill that gap. It focuses on priority measures which will improve viability and accelerate supply.

The point the Deputy makes about how to get the smaller and medium-sized builders back in building is a valid one. I would not understate the importance in Housing for All of the State putting in more than €4.5 billion. We need €12 billion a year to deliver the homes we need, but it gives certainty in the sector that the State is the largest single actor in that market. We are such through measures such as the extension of the LDA's Project Tosaigh, the Croí Cónaithe cities initiative, the very significant increase in the subvention under the Affordable Housing Act 2021, which was sought by local authorities and which we have provided, and the recent increase in changes we made to the cost rental loan for approved housing bodies, AHBs, which will further improve that viability. That is helping drive the additional supply we need. These are some of the shorter term actions being undertaken now to provide State support and stimulate home delivery, which has been delayed due to inflationary pressures.

Other positive indications worth noting are, as I have said on many occasions, that the Government believes in the delivery of social homes at a scale we have not seen in decades. We believe in homeownership too. We believe in helping people to buy their own homes. We have the highest level of first-time buyers in the market since 2007, with more than 16,240 homes purchased in the year to the end of September. They are purchasing over 50% of new-build properties.

To answer the Deputy's question, the shorter term measures we looked at around Project Tosaigh, increasing the subvention under the affordable housing fund and accelerating social housing delivery are clear indications to the sector that the State is responding to those inflationary pressures.

There is also the work done by the Minister, Deputy McGrath, on the inflation framework to ensure that many sites that may have stopped because of rising costs did not stop and are continuing with housing delivery. I will come back with a supplementary response.


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