News & Media

Home ownership no longer a legitimate aspiration for most

28 June 2021

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Seanad Leader and spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage
  • Labour proposed bill to reduce the cost of land
  • Time to consider a Rent to Buy scheme

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said that it is incumbent on the Government to take action to ensure that the housing it is building on State land represents true affordability. Citing reports of a continued overheating in the housing market, Senator Moynihan said that while this is not surprising, it does not allow the Minister to shirk his responsibility.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Home ownership should be a legitimate aspiration for all people, including those in single income households. The Daft and MyHome reports show today that this simply isn’t possible and the jump in house prices is locking more people out of home ownership.

"People should be able to buy, to rent and to live in Ireland securely and without the relentless stress so many are experiencing. The Minister had the opportunity to tie affordability with income with the Affordable Housing Bill, which he decided against doing.

“The approach of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, through their encouragement of build to rent and REITS, has led to a locked out generation rent. Home buyers relying on a mortgage don’t stand a change against investors who are relying on a huge rental return.

"The investor led approach continues to fail ordinary people. While Fine Gael loves to pay lip service to young people, single people, first time buyers, it’s clear that they continue to insist on a developer, investor led approach, allowing 8% rent increases this year despite the Taoiseach in the Dail saying they would bring forward legislation to address this.

“This investor led approach is borne out in the prices we are reading about today. Rental investors have been welcomed into the market by the Government, trapping people into a rental economy. The reality is no first-time buyer can afford a house for €500,000.

“This month, the Labour Party put forward a Bill to tackle the affordability of housing through giving local authorities the power to CPO development land at its existing use value plus 25%, a key recommendation of the 1973 Kenny Report. We need to tackle the price of building land to make more affordable, we need to be prepared to take radical policy action to change the course of the housing crisis.

“Labour has long called for the reintroduction of a Rent to Buy scheme through our affordable housing plan where a person with a tenancy for three years that successfully pays all their rent would see it turned into a deposit for the property that they will then go on to own. Renters should be allowed to dream of owning their own home but because many renters are paying up to €500 more than they would for a mortgage, they are trapped and can’t afford the upfront saving despite their technical ability to afford it. Labour want to see a scheme introduced where rental payments and deposit savings are counted as part of credit ratings to help first time buyers get on the market.

“People have had enough. We need to see actual action taken by the Minister to resolve the housing crisis and make home ownership a reality for people. There needs to be tighter restrictions on investors operating in the housing market. People need to catch a break. We can’t take any more fallout from the mismanagement of the housing crisis.”