Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
203. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the protections that will be put in place to ensure that the purchase of open market homes by housing authorities does not increase house prices in a local market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38768/21]
As set out in the Programme for Government, a key focus for the delivery of social housing is for the majority of the 50,000 new units to be delivered over the next five-years, to be built by local authorities, Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) and State agencies. This is part of our focus to prioritise the increased supply of public, social, and affordable homes.
While this will be the majority approach to delivery, I still see some level of acquisitions of existing properties to be a valuable part of the delivery of social housing, recognising that in some areas of the country, good value for money can be obtained. In those situations, it can make sense for local authorities to undertake acquisitions in a targeted and strategic manner.
I have directed local authorities and AHBs where they undertake such targeted acquisitions, that they do not compete with private purchasers and leave value in the market particularly for first-time buyers. However, within these constraints, acquisitions by local authorities can be cheaper than construction and allows them to make best use of existing housing stock. I have also asked local authorities to increasingly target vacant and derelict properties that can be brought back to use as part of new public housing delivery.
Where local authorities and AHBs engage with developers to acquire newly developed housing through turnkey arrangements, this is done on the basis that there is not undue interference in private housing supply and in most cases, the developments are ones that would not have been undertaken without the interest of a local authority or an AHB.
I am determined that the Government’s new "Housing for All" strategy will put in place the resources to deliver new public housing based in the main on delivery by local authorities, AHBs and State agencies with property acquisitions from the open market being a targeted and strategic aspect only of delivery.
204. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the percentage of new affordable homes that will be built directly by housing authorities; the percentage that will be bought from the open market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38769/21]
To date, Serviced Sites Funding of almost €200 million has been approved in principle in support of 40 infrastructure projects in 14 local authority areas across 9 counties, which will assist in the delivery of almost 4,200 affordable homes for purchase or for rent, all of which will be delivered on local authority land.
Details of 35 SSF projects which received approval in principle under the two SSF calls to date are available on the Department's website as follows.
Call 1 www.gov.ie/en/press-release/dbc55-minister-murphy-gives-the-go-ahead-for-ten-local-authority-sites-for-affordable-housing-under-the-serviced-sites-fund/ .
Call 2 www.gov.ie/en/press-release/eaf39-minister-murphy-approves-84m-in-funding-for-25-local-authority-sites-to-support-the-delivery-of-approximately-1770-affordable-homes-nationally-under-the-serviced-sites-fund-ssf/
In addition to these projects, approval in principle has also been given to five further applications for SSF funding, namely, Dublin City Council’s projects in Emmet Road and Oscar Traynor Road, Fingal County Council’s projects in Ballymastone, Donabate, and Hayestown, Rush and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s project in Shanganagh.
The Affordable Housing Bill 2021, which has now cleared all stages in the Oireachtas, is the first ever standalone affordable housing legislation. The provisions of the Bill establish the basis for 4 new affordable housing measures. These measures will deliver on the Programme for Government commitment to put affordability at the heart of the housing system and prioritise the increased supply of affordable homes through (1) delivering affordable homes by local authorities, (2) the introduction of a new form of tenure in Cost Rental, (3) a new affordable purchase shared equity scheme and (4) expanding Part V planning requirements to increase the 10% contribution requirement to 20% and to apply it to cost rental as well as social and affordable housing.
Government will very shortly publish a new 5 year ‘Housing for All’ strategy which will include ambitious affordable home delivery targets for these schemes.