No shortage of planning permission but lack of funds an issue
Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30
The Coalition faces a number of difficult issues in the run-up to the general election, not least of which is the chronic shortage of suitable housing coming onto the market.
It's a problem which has dogged the Government's term in office, but is particularly serious now that the economy is on the turn and there is a market seeking to purchase homes, something which wasn't the case in 2011.
The problem is most acute in the main cities, but particularly in Dublin. It is also a complex one.
Not only are building costs too high, taxes on construction are deemed excessive and banks are not lending to developers.
While there is no shortage of sites with planning permission, these issues - particularly the lack of funding - are hampering development.
And it now emerges that key land banks cannot be developed due to a lack of essential infrastructure.
Road access, and a lack of water treatment services, are the stumbling blocks.
To free up these land banks and provide just 18 months supply, or 12,500 homes, some €63m is needed.
Construction work on another 25,000 homes could begin, but only if another €102m is spent.
What's the Government to do? Taoiseach Enda Kenny has indicated that Budget 2016 will be made up of €1.2bn to €1.5bn of tax and spending increases, evenly divided. But with a difficult general election in the offing, particularly for Labour, will the Coalition spend so much money freeing up housing land in the capital, at a time when there is no shortage of demands from the regions?
If €750m is to be made up of spending increase, will he earmark €165m for the capital?
Hardly. But Dublin is the driver of the economy.
If homes cannot be provided, it impacts on our ability to attract investment and create jobs.
Why would a company decide to move to Ireland if its workers cannot source somewhere to live?
A report from the Dublin Taskforce, established to examine the issues hampering development of new homes in the capital, has been with the Government for some time.
Despite this, the number of homes built remains stubbornly low.
That's led to rising prices. On Saturday, the Irish Independent revealed that despite a slowdown in the market, prices continue to rise.
Some 6,000 units a year are needed in Dublin alone.
They will not be delivered by continuing to talk about the problem, instead of taking action.