Motherhood and apple pie won't build houses
Published 18/06/2016 | 02:30
Getting TDs from all sides of the Dáil to sit down together to thrash out the housing problem won't do any harm. At the very least, it shows where there is common ground, so some measures can be implemented with little dispute.
But what good will the report of the Dáil Housing and Homelessness Committee actually do?
The committee came up with a bunch of proposals, which were generally 'motherhood and apple pie'. Obviously, no magic bullet was identified to solve the problem in the short term. And the mechanism through which the proposals can be implemented is flaky.
Many proposals leave more questions than answers.
Add 50,000 new social housing units by 2020. Sure - but good luck with meeting that target.
Set up a Housing Procurement Agency. Fine.
Bring in a rent-certainty system linking rent to inflation. Try it - but how do you regulate and enforce it?
Seek EU flexibility to finance social house building. Okay, but you still have to source the funding.
Establish off-balance-sheet funding for affordable housing. Yes, but you still have to pay the money back.
Increase rent supplement and housing assistance payments. Isn't that happening already and doesn't it risk driving up prices across the market?
Introduce supports for first-time buyers, like a special savings scheme. Right - but who pays for that exactly?
Make the Central Bank mortgage rules review take account of those renting and saving for a deposit. Fine - but the bank is concerned with being able to make repayments.
A moratorium on home repossessions. And then some borrowers will just stop making repayments, kicking the can down the road. And how is that legal?