Sunday 17 December 2017

'Housing crisis is a number one priority', says Murphy as raft of supply measures unveiled

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy.
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy.
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Addressing the housing shortage and homelessness crisis is the “number one priority” for Government, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has said.

Some 2,000 social houses will be built this year, and 3,800 in 2018, he said, adding that more than €6bn had now been ringfenced for housing out to 2021.

But of the 25,000 target for new homes next year, 17,000 are long-term leasing under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). He said that reliance on HAP would reduce as the State's building programme ramped-up with some €500m in additional spending out to 2021.

“These are new tenancies being supported,” he said. “We will support 350 new tenancies every week. That dependency on HAP will reduce (as homes are built).

“It's more efficient to spend public money on new build, or long-term leasing arrangements. There will always be people who want to avail of HAP.”

The Government's housing package commits to spending of €1.8bn next year.

It includes a commitment to deliver 3,800 new-build social homes, as well as new supply through leasing and acquisition.

In addition, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has secured increased funding for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and some €116m to tackle homelessness.

It also announced a new €750m in new finance for builders, to be administered by a new agency called Home Building Finance Ireland, as well as an additional €75m to provide infrastructure needed to open sites for housing.

On vacant homes, owners will be able to claim tax relief of up to €5,000 to bring properties back into use for rent. The vacant site levy is being more than doubled from 3”pc to 7pc, and commercial stamp duty will rise from 2pc to 6pc by midnight tonight.

Buyers of residential land will be entitled to claim back the stamp duty, provided that development takes place within 30 months of the land being purchased.

In a blow for homeowners who bought between 2004 and 2012, Mortgage interest relief will be scrapped by 2020.

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