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Taoiseach Enda Kenny, ex-Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and David Conway of the National Sports Campus at the launch of Construction 2020. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Housing Crisis

There's enough land zoned for housing to build 500,000 new homes

The Government says that “proper management of all State land is critical”.

THERE’S ENOUGH LAND zoned for housing to build 500,000 new homes according to the Government.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan relayed the estimation to the Dáil after being asked by Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger how much social housing would be needed to be built to clear waiting lists.

The minister didn’t outline how much of the land he felt would be needed, but said that the capacity is enough to meet the expected demand for new housing.

He cautioned that the “proper management of all State land is critical”, adding that the Housing Agency is currently in the process of developing Social Housing Strategy that will be published before the end of September.

“It is currently estimated that there are in excess of 25,000 hectares of undeveloped residentially-zoned land nationally, which equates to a capacity for over 500,000 new homes, based on a national average of 20 units per hectare,” Noonan said.

This capacity is considered to be sufficient to meet total housing requirements nationally for more than the next ten years.

The recently published Construction 2020 strategy estimated that increases in population will result in the formation of at least 20,000 new households each year, each requiring a separate dwelling.

The progressive and consistent increase in property prices in Dublin in particular and the related increase in rental costs has not only begun to put pressure on people’s finances, but has also led to fears that of a new property bubble.

Supply shortage rather than free-flowing credit is seen by many as the main property problem however, easing fears that a we are seeing a repeat of what occurred in the property market in the last decade.

This opinion was mirrored by Noonan during the course of the exchange with Coppinger, describing it as a “supply-demand mismatch in these urban areas”.

Construction 2020 was in part focused on these “current inadequacies in the market”, he said.

Social Housing

As part of the new plan, the Housing Agency and the Department of the Environment are to jointly put together a five-year strategy for social housing that was preliminarily presented to Government in June but will be accepting submissions from the public until tomorrow.

But for this year Noonan told the Dáil that the Department of the Environment estimates that that the final output for social housing units this year will be in the region of 6,000 new housing units.

Read: Homeless pensioner: ‘I want to live the rest of my life with some dignity’ >

Read: Ballymun council building occupied over rent allowance ban >

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