Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
677. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the way in which a single person can purchase a property in Dublin or other urban areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18310/21]
678. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the research his Department is undertaking on the way in which single persons are priced out of buying a property in Dublin or other urban areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18311/21]
679. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the measures that will be put in place for single persons who earn too much to be included on a social housing list but earn too little to be able to afford a home in Dublin or other urban areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18312/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 677, 678 and 679 together.
The Programme for Government, ‘Our Shared Future’, clearly lays out our commitment to putting affordability at the heart of the housing system. Government approved priority drafting of the Affordable Housing Bill 2020 on 22 December 2020, the General Scheme of which I published on the 20th of January last.
The Bill includes provisions to underpin three schemes delivering on the Government’s commitment to prioritise the increased supply of affordable homes through (1) affordable homes for purchase delivered by local authorities, (2) a new affordable purchase shared equity scheme for private homes, and (3) the introduction of a new form of tenure in Cost Rental. The drafting of the Bill is progressing well. Both affordable purchase measures are targeted at First Time Buyers, including single people, enabling them to bridge the affordability gap, allowing them to buy a new home.
The €310 million Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) supports affordable homes delivered by local authorities, funding infrastructure on local authority lands to enable the delivery of affordable homes to purchase or rent. This initiative is largely targeted at our urban centres where affordability issues are most acute. To date, funding of almost €188 million has been approved in principle in support of 38 infrastructure projects in 14 local authority areas, which will assist in the delivery of almost 4,000 more affordable homes.
Details of SSF projects approved under the 2 Calls for Proposals to date can be found here;
In addition to these projects, approval in principle has also been given to three further applications for SSF funding, namely, Dublin City Council’s projects in Emmet Road and Oscar Traynor Road, and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s project in Shanganagh. Affordable homes provided by local authorities via the SSF will come with an initial purchase price of between 10% and 40% below market prices, bringing many within the reach of single buyers.
Another scheme in the Affordable Housing Bill is the ‘Affordable Purchase Shared Equity’ scheme. This is being developed for homes on private lands and will be designed to help bridge the gap, by means of an equity stake, between the mortgage people have and the price of the new home they wish to buy.
The third element of the Affordable Housing Bill provides for the introduction of a new form of tenure in Cost Rental.Cost Rental will be targeted at middle income earners. The first Cost Rental homes in Ireland, 50 two-bedroom apartments at Enniskerry Road, Stepaside, will be delivered by the Tuath and Respond AHBs in Q3 2021. Dublin City Council is also progressing a site at Emmet Road, Inchicore (the former St Michael’s Estate) and the LDA is collaborating with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on a site at Shanganagh, Shankill; both of these projects have received approval in principle for SSF funding.
The provision of Cost Rental housing is also being implemented through the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme, with allocated funding of €35m in Budget 2021. I have approved in principle the financing this year of 390 new homes across eight sites, located in Dublin, the Greater Dublin Area, and Cork. CREL support and careful cost management has generated initial rents which are at least 25% below comparable open market prices, delivering significantly improved affordability for renters.
Alongside the Affordable Housing Bill 2020, the Land Development Agency (LDA) is tasked to work with Government Departments, local authorities, state agencies and other stakeholders to assemble strategic sites in urban areas and ensure the sustainable development of social and affordable homes for rent and purchase. On establishment, the LDA had access to an initial tranche of 8 sites that have near term delivery potential for approximately 3,400 new homes. The LDA will have regard to Government policy, and all appropriate legislation, on the appropriate tenure mix for developments on public land, as well as the criteria for the operation of cost rental and affordable housing schemes. The LDA will deliver affordable homes which will be available to single buyers.
Additional affordability measures, such as the Help to Buy Scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan (RIHL), are already available to eligible applicants.
The Help to Buy Scheme has had 23,545 approvals by the end of February 2021, with the estimated total value of approved Help to Buy claims to date in the order of €389.2 million.
The RIHL is available for both new and second-hand homes. At the end of February 2021, the RIHL has had 3,817 approvals. Budget 2021 confirmed that €210 million has been sanctioned for RIHL lending in 2021.