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Affordable homes urgently needed to help tackle housing crisis

16 April 2018

Statement by Jan O'Sullivan TD
Spokesperson on Housing & Local Government, Enterprise & Innovation

Labour spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has said the Government cannot rely on the private sector to provide homes that are genuinely affordable for people on normal incomes.

It comes as new figures in today’s Irish Independent show that one in four workers is now being priced out of buying a home in the current market.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“At the crux of this housing crisis is the issue of supply, but not just supply at any cost. We need homes that are affordable to buy and rent for the estimated quarter of the population that are earning between €40,000 and €90,000, which, as is highlighted in today’s Irish Independent, is too high a threshold to qualify for social housing.

“Therefore this segment of the population is caught in a trap of renting at high costs, while at the same time trying to save for a deposit to buy a home, with average costs creeping up and up all the while. As today’s report shows, this equates to one in four workers being priced out of the market.

“If we take the Government’s definition of an ‘affordable’ home as costing between €240,000 and €320,000, anyone who is familiar with the current housing market will know that there are very few homes actually available in that price range in areas that are desirable, particularly for first time buyers.

“Recent media reports of people queuing for days on end for new homes shows just how extreme the hunt for a house has now become.

“The State needs to get about building homes that are affordable and can no longer rely on the private sector to do so. There are currently around 700 publicly owned sites that have been identified, which could be used by Government to get the ball rolling. We also need to introduce measures recommended in the Kenny Report to deter land owners and developers from hoarding land and sites until they becomes more profitable.

"The Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance has shown that affordable homes can be delivered in Dublin and other cities. What is clearly most urgently needed is for the Government to act and to stand up to those in whose interest it is to see the cost of homes go even higher."