Thursday 27 April 2017

Paul Melia: Any idea that boosts supply should be given serious consideration

'If the current crop can’t or won’t adjust and start building, why not look elsewhere?' Photo: PA
'If the current crop can’t or won’t adjust and start building, why not look elsewhere?' Photo: PA
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

While some might consider it selling off the family silver, given the depth of the housing crisis any ideas to boost supply cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Buying housing land is nothing new for local authorities. For decades, councils bought sites and built. But in 2010, it was decided the future of social housing was leasing - and not building - and that decision contributed to the current disaster of almost 100,000 people languishing on council waiting lists.

It also left local authorities with an enormous problem. They had purchased vast tracts of land to complete homes, and were left with sites for which no funding was available to develop, and with debts running to hundreds of millions of euro. It's these sites, coupled with landbanks held by other State agencies, that the Department of Housing is now looking to use.

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