Friday, 4 June 2021
Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
Victor Boyhan (Independent)
I welcome the Minister of State. I want to speak on amendments No. 37 and 38. Amendment No. 38 is in my name. These are critically important amendments because they deal with the kernel of this issue, which is affordability. This is the Affordable Housing Bill and it does not define affordability. I went to the Library and Research Service and acknowledge its assistance with any inquiries that I made about this legislation. We do not have a simple, clear, understandable definition of affordability. It struck me as odd that we are calling this the Affordable Housing Bill and that definition is not stated. What is an affordable dwelling? A house costing €350,000, or €400,000 to €450,000 in Dublin city and county, is not affordable. The Central Bank rules about a loan limit of 3.5 times one's income and sources of funding means it is virtually impossible. I took the time two weeks ago to look at daft.ieto see what is on offer there. There is very little. If there is something, it is usually in bits and people would find it difficult to secure any sort of a mortgage or finance. It would not fulfil all the criteria. We have a real issue. The Minister of State is in the House this time but was not on the previous two occasion on which this legislation was before us. I do not have any ideological hang-up about who is building homes. We need homes. We need every shoulder to the wheel to get homes, whether public sector, private sector, co-operatives, housing associations or any other synergies. It is about providing affordable homes.