Senator Fiona O'Loughlin
Fianna Fail Senator, Fiona O’Loughlin, has welcomed the publication today of the Affordable Housing Bill 2020.
But the Social Democrat spokesperson,Deputy Cian O’Callaghan, was not so welcoming saying that relying on the private sector is a broken model.
Senator O’Loughlin said: “The lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest issues we face in south Kildare and this Bill is very positive news for us today. It provides for the introduction of three new schemes to put affordability at the heart of the housing system and prioritise the increased supply of affordable homes.
"These schemes will see: local authorities deliver affordable homes for purchase on their lands for the first time in more than a decade; a new Affordable Purchase Shared Equity scheme where the State would provide equity support to households seeking to purchase homes in the private market but unable to secure the full mortgage to do so and the introduction of a new form of tenure in ‘Cost Rental’. “This legislation will provide the basis for the first 400 Cost Rental homes in the State which will be delivered in 2021 with many more in the pipeline in the years thereafter,” she said.
Reacting to the Social Democrats Housing spokesperson, Cian O’Callaghan, TD said: “Relying on the private sector for the provision of affordable housing is a broken model. Shared equity loans are more of the same old, failed, developer-led policymaking. We need a change of direction. “A review of the UK shared equity loans found that first-time buyers ended up paying more, developers' profits went up and the scheme helped those who didn’t need help.
Deputy O’Callaghan concluded: “If we want homes that are truly affordable, the State must directly build them and sell or rent them at cost. Private developers built about 18,000 homes last year– we need about twice that number. This will only happen if the State plays a very direct, proactive role in the delivery of affordable homes.”
Senator O’Loughlin said there has been an affordability crisis in Kildare for some time now and it is vital to open up home ownership opportunities. “This bill sets out a new legislative basis for direct state led construction of affordable homes for purchase. I hope it will help young working people who are caught in the rental trap to be able to afford their own home.
She concluded: “The scheme will increase housing supply as it helps to improve viability by bridging the gap between the maximum mortgage that might be available to a household and the actual cost of a new home for ordinary income families.”
Speaking on construction costs, which can increase the price of housing, Deputy O’Callaghan said:“We need action on the part of Government to address Brexit-related increases in construction costs. Steel, for example, which is imported via Northern Ireland, is now facing a 25% tariff because of complications caused by Brexit. This will have knock-on effects on the cost of construction. The Government must urgently engage with the EU Commission to find a workable solution for this issue.”