Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Finance
70. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will take action to discourage house price increases that currently make it difficult or impossible for first time house buyers to build or acquire a home of their own; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17649/21]
The Department of Finance continues to monitor all aspects of the housing market, including the rate of property price inflation. As of January 2021, annual property price inflation stood at 2.6 per cent.
The Government’s primary response to mitigating residential price inflation is to increase supply. I am encouraged by the stability in new dwelling completions last year in spite of the challenges of the pandemic. According to the Central Statistics Office, there were 20,676 residential units completed in 2020, just 1.9 per cent lower than the 21,087 new units completed in 2019.
Of course, further progress is required and that is why the addition of new and affordable homes continues to be supported through Government action. To this end, in Budget 2021, I amended the Stamp Duty Residential Development Refund Scheme to include operations commenced by 31 December 2022 and extended the time allowed between commencement and completion of a qualifying project by six months to two-and-a-half years. This will encourage the development of residential properties on non-residential land. The provision of affordable homes was also supported through the Budget with an allocation of €50 million to the Serviced Sites Fund to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of homes to purchase at discounted prices.
The Government also continues to support first-time buyers. In Budget 2021, I extended the July Stimulus measures of the Help-to-Buy scheme to the end of 2021, which will provide further support to first-time buyers with the deposit they need to buy or build a new house or apartment. First-time buyers who are unable to secure a commercial bank loan can also avail of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan. This is a Government-backed mortgage on competitive terms for first-time-buyers nationwide to purchase a new or second-hand home or to self-build.
In addition to the measures taken at budget-time, my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, recently published the Land Development Agency Bill 2021. The Bill establishes the Land Development Agency (LDA) on a statutory basis and sets out the core goals of the LDA to undertake strategic land assembly and utilise state lands to build affordable homes.
All of these measures testify to the need to take a multi-faceted approach to increase the supply of new housing and I will continue to work closely with my Government colleagues to ensure this is delivered.