Potential homeowners now competing with Government-funded Housing Bodies

Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea.

FIANNA Fáil TD Willie O’Dea asked Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien in the Dáil last week if he is aware that Government-funded Approved Housing Bodies are now competing with potential owner occupiers to buy houses.

Deputy O’Dea hit out that AHBs are bulk purchasing homes before they even hit the market.

The Limerick TD quizzed the Minister on what strategy is in place to ensure a good mix in future housing developments, to allow owner occupiers purchase houses in new estates, and to avoid the mistakes of the past whereby there was often an over-concentration of social housing in certain areas of Limerick and across the country.

Responding to the Limerick politician, Minister O’Brien explained that Housing for All is the Government’s plan to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade.

This, he said, includes the delivery of 90,000 social homes, 36,000 affordable purchase homes, and 18,000 cost rental homes.

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“Housing for All is supported by an investment package of over €4bn per annum, through an overall combination of €12bn in direct Exchequer funding, €3.5bn in funding through the Land Development Agency, and €5bn funding through the Housing Finance Agency,” the Minister told Deputy O’Dea.

He continued: “In areas where a local authority does not have the land or the projects to provide delivery in the short-term, local authorities have entered into development arrangements with developers who have sites available which have not been activated and has resulted in completed homes which may not otherwise have been progressed.

“This has also been a feature of delivery by Approved Housing Bodies, which has supported the delivery of housing projects for social housing. These schemes require the support of the local authority and it is a matter for each local authority to evaluate the scheme prior to approval.”