Tuesday 19 February 2019

Council wants more cash to pay for social housing in pricier parts of capital

The Capital Dock complex
The Capital Dock complex
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Dublin City Council wants more money from the Department of Housing to pay developers for the 10pc of units it is entitled to in pricier parts of the city.

The council said it has written to the Department of Housing requesting that certain parts of the city, particularly Dublin 2 and 4, can be zoned off as "special cases" when it comes to buying from developers.

Currently, under the Rebuilding Ireland scheme, the council operates under cost guideline caps for a range of different homes.

The council says this is preventing it from purchasing from developers in areas such as the Docklands, with fears among some councillors that there will then be an over-concentration of social housing in other areas.

Currently, the maximum it can afford to pay under the scheme for a two-bed apartment is €469,500 - which sources say is not much more than half of the asking price in some areas. The most that can be paid for a one-bedroom apartment is €400,800.

Under the regulations, 10pc of all private developments must be ring-fenced for social housing, but this is at the market rate. If the asking price is too much, the developer must supply the 10pc elsewhere.

This has been the case for 39 units to be sold to the council at a Herberton apartment complex in Rialto by Kennedy Wilson. It is instead of units at the Capital Dock apartment complex on Sir John Rogerson's Quay.

It's understood the difference in price on the two sites is saving Dublin City Council in the region of €10m.

The council's housing supply manager, Tony Flynn, said the specification for apartment complexes around the Docklands area is very high and would regularly include concierges, gyms and cinemas.

"In the context of that they're very, very expensive," Mr Flynn said, stating that there are "price ceilings" in the way of the council currently.

He said an evaluation and special status should be given to certain areas and be looked at on a "unique basis".

A spokesperson for the Department of Housing said: "We are required to get value for money for the taxpayer."

Irish Independent

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