Under-pressure counties will see only a ‘tiny’ number of affordable purchase homes being built between now and 2026 under the Government’s targets
First-time buyers in Dublin’s commuter belt counties will see fewer than 50 affordable homes delivered each year, figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal.
The under-pressure commuter counties of Kildare, Wicklow, Meath, Louth, Westmeath and Laois will see only a “tiny” number of affordable purchase homes being built between now and 2026 under the Government’s targets,
And there will be fewer than 1,400 affordable homes delivered by the State in our cities each year.
The vast majority – over 1,000 – will be in Dublin, with just 256 homes built in the other four cities over the next four years.
The Government’s multi-billion Housing For All plan promises that 18 councils will build 7,550 affordable purchase homes using land owned by the State.
However, figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal that Meath and Wicklow will each see just 30 homes built every year.
In Kildare and Louth, just 45 homes will be built in each county, while there will be only eight affordable homes built in Laois and 15 in Westmeath.
Only 113 homes will be built in Cork, 53 in Limerick, 75 in Galway and 15 in Waterford per year, under the fund.
Architect and housing policy analyst Mel Reynolds branded the Government’s housing targets as “tiny”.
Even if the number of homes, delivered through affordable purchase last year in Dublin, were doubled, this would still only mean a couple of hundred homes, he said.
“The problem I would have with any state building [of homes] is that it is effectively not happening at all.
He said the homes will probably instead be sourced from “the private sector and subsidised, rather than built on state land and sold to purchasers”. “It’s one way to do it, probably the least cost-effective, particularly in high-cost areas like Dublin, Cork and Galway.”
The AHF (affordable housing funding) scheme is aimed at helping first-time buyers who struggle to obtain traditional mortgages, purchase a home.
The aim is to make homes available at a reduced purchase price of around €250,000 across the country.
A subsidy of up to €100,000 is provided by a local authority toward the cost of a home with the council keeping a stake of up to 30pc in the home.
The homeowner can then choose to buyout at a later date, or the local authority will redeem it when the home is sold or transferred.
Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin, who obtained the figures through a parliamentary question, said they show the Government “is not serious about tackling the affordable housing crisis”.
“The best way to deliver large volumes of good-quality affordable homes is through local authorities and approved housing bodies.
“Despite this fact, [Housing Minister] Darragh O’Brien is only funding a tiny amount of genuinely affordable homes to purchase.
“We need at least 4,000 affordable purchase homes a year and the Government isn’t even proposing half this. Instead they will give huge handouts to big developers to deliver over-priced homes.”
The homes pledged under the fund do not include housing obtained through Part 5 agreements, where the State gets a portion of increase in land value in return for granting of planning permission for residential development.
A total of 36,000 affordable purchase homes and 18,000 cost rentals have been promised under Housing for All.
From now until 2026, more than 28,000 affordable homes will be built, with other affordable purchase and cost rental homes also to be developed by approved housing bodies and the Land Development Agency LDA.