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Taoiseach says housing crisis won't be solved in one year, but report shows progress being made

Government has published the second quarterly update of the Housing for All plan.

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien.
Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE GOVERNMENT has said that it’s Housing for All plan has made “significant progress” towards increasing the volume of supply.

The Government today published the second quarterly update on progress of the implementation of Housing for All since its launch in September last year. 

It shows the shutdown of the construction sector in the first lockdown of last year impacted on housing supply last year, with 30,724 new homes commenced.

However, this does represent the highest since 2008.

  • Read more here on how to support a major Noteworthy project to examine where Ireland has fallen down on social housing policy.

In addition, over 39,000 planning permissions were granted in the 12 months to end-September 2021.

The coalition’s central housing strategy was published last September and aims create 300,000 homes by the end of 2030, with more than half – 156,000 – coming from the private sector. 

On average, the government wants to build 33,000 homes each year, rising to 40,000 by 2030, according to the plan.

However, the target of 33,000 new homes were year will not be achieved until 2024 with the plan for this year that  24,600 new homes would be built. 

The report published today states that recent data gives confidence that the targets for delivery of homes for 2022 will be met and very likely exceeded.  

There has been strong pick-up in the construction sector, with employment now close to pre-pandemic levels and a welcome increase in construction apprenticeship registrations in 2021, which increased by over 40% compared to 2019, the report says.   

Of 213 actions in Housing for All, a total of 123 have either been completed already or are being delivered on an ongoing basis.

The report says that 65 cost-rental homes have been tenanted so far, with 1,580 due for delivery this year.

It also points to rent price increase caps, changes to Mortgage-to-Rent, tenancy and planning laws.

The report states that “there is still a huge amount of work to be done” with the issue of homelessness. 

Taoiseach, Micheál Martin said today:

“When we launched Housing for All, we said there would be a strong focus on delivery across Government.  Increasing the supply of homes is our top priority, and I’m happy to report that we’ve made good progress in building new homes and reform of our housing system.”

He said the government will continue to focus our attention on delivery of new homes, where they are needed.  

The Taoiseach said the housing crisis will “not be solved in one year”. 

Covid-19, inflation and issues with delays is causing issues for housing construction, he acknowledged.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it is “not a perfect score card”, but progress is being made. 

“A big focus for me in the coming years is increasing the level of home ownership. Owning a home is part of our culture and our history. We cannot accept that an entire generation will be locked out of home ownership, stuck in a rent trap as house prices increase.

“Housing for All is our plan to change that – to turn the aspiration of home ownership into reality, to ensure everybody has access to sustainable, good quality housing, to give stability for renters and protection for people at risk of homelessness.”

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said “considerable amount of progress” has been  made since the publication of Housing for All last September.

According to a Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) report published today the highest volume of mortgages have been drawn down since 2009 and the highest overall value since 2008. 

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The report, 5,021 housing units were completed in the second quarter of 2021, a sharp improvement on last year. 

It means that 8,955 houses were completed in the first half of the year, a 10% increase on the same period last year and just 1% fewer than the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

“If the sector continues to build at a rate similar to the second half of 2020, it is likely that total completions in 2021 can reach 22,000 units.” 

With reporting by Christina Finn

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Rónán Duffy

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