Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Social and Affordable Housing Provision
506. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his plans to roll out a more sustained programme of cost rental properties through AHBs beyond the existing cost rental pilots being rolled out by AHBs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20757/19]
Acknowledging that renters in Dublin and other major urban centres are currently facing significant access and affordability challenges, the Government is committed to the introduction of a Cost Rental sector in Ireland. Together with delivering more affordable and predictable rents, Cost Rental can make a sustainable impact on national competitiveness and the attractiveness of our main urban centres as places to live and work.
To support the introduction of affordable housing, including Cost Rental, the Government has made €310m available to local authorities to fund facilitating infrastructure, under the Serviced Sites Fund, over the next three years.
Two Cost Rental 'path-finder' projects are currently being supported by my Department. Firstly, the Housing Agency, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and two Approved Housing Bodies (Respond and Túath) are working on a project at the Enniskerry Road, Dublin, which will deliver 50 Cost Rental homes. Tenders for the project have been assessed and the contract is due to be awarded shortly, with construction expected to commence by the end of this month. An application submitted by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for Serviced Sites Fund grant funding associated with the project has been successful, with a resulting budget of c. €5 million.
The second planned pathfinder project, at Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8, is estimated to have the potential to accommodate circa. 470 homes in a high quality development. The anticipated tenure mix is 30% social and 70% cost rental. Initial estimates of the St. Michael’s project by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) indicated that rents of between 15-25% below market are achievable. The European Investment Bank is also working on this project in terms of financial and advisory services.
Finally, the Land Development Agency is examining the potential to deliver cost rental homes at scale from its land port-folio and the broader State land bank, and constructive engagement is ongoing in this regard.
In addition to these delivery actions, my Department has just signed an agreement with the European Investment Bank for the provision of Cost Rental advisory services. The EIB, which has extensive international experience of delivery, will provide technical assistance in examining market demand for Cost Rental housing. It will also provide advice on optimal operating structures that are scalable and accessible to attract finance. Guidance will be provided as to other notable examples of successful European Cost Rental housing projects.
Informed by, and in parallel with all of this work, my Department is developing a national policy approach to Cost Rental for Ireland. This requires consideration to be given to the many delivery options possible, and the challenges posed, in order to ensure that a coherent Cost Rental model can be delivered at a scale and in a manner that will have the desired positive impact on the Irish housing sector.