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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
PA Minister O'Brien said he believes the 24,600 new homes target for this year will be exceeded.
rental crisis

118 new cost-rental homes open in Clondalkin as housing minister says rental crisis is 'acute'

The rents are set at €1,264 for two-bed apartments and €1,297 for the two-bed duplexes.

OVER 100 NEW cost-rental homes were launched today by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, who committed today to delivering a lot more rental units in the coming months. 

The 118 homes consist of 44 one and two-bed apartments at Parklands, Citywest and 74 one and two-bed apartments at Kilcarbery Grange, Clondalkin. 

The rents for these cost-rental homes are set at €1,264 for two-bed apartments and €1,297 for the two-bed duplexes.

The Parklands development in Citywest is a mixed tenure development, which will comprise 1,010 homes on completion.

A significant number of homes have already been completed and have been sold to individual purchasers and first-time buyers. 

‘Acute’ rental crisis

Launching the new cost-rental homes in Clondalkin, the minister said over 900 cost-rental units have been approved already, but he acknowledged that the rental crisis is “acute”. 

“Look, it’s acute, there is no question of that. We’ve had an issue of under supply across all channels of housing for the last 10 years. There’s no question about that and it’s made the situation much more difficult, but what is good and what is positive is the cost-rental that we have here now and it didn’t exist 12 months ago.

“We’ll have hundreds of tenancies in place. That’s important for those hundreds of families and thousands of renters. Do we need to do more? Absolutely we do,” O’Brien told reporters today.

There is €35 million ring fenced for Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to deliver cost-rental schemes which must have rent at a minimum of 25% below open-market values.

‘Breach in social contract’

In an interview with The Journal last week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said what is happening with the housing crisis right now is a “breach in the social contract”. 

Varadkar also said there is now a need to take a fresh look at the country’s housing policy, and that while the government’s Housing for All plan is working, it is not working fast enough. 

“I think we need to have another go at housing really, and seeing what we can do. Because while our plans are working, they’re not working fast enough and that’s very obvious to me,” he said. 

The comments got significant kickback from Opposition housing spokespeople, who criticised the Tánaiste.

housing-construction PA Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien speaks with Haleema Sadia during the official opening of 118 new cost rental homes in west Dublin today. PA

When asked for his reaction to the Varadkar’s comments and whether he felt Varadkar was putting down the progress the minister feels is being made, O’Brien said: 

“I don’t think so. Let’s put it this way. Through Housing for All we’re going to deliver affordable homes for purchase through local authorities for the first time in a generation.

“We’ve launched the First Home Scheme that took two years to put together which we’ve had hundreds, literally hundreds of applications already. And our first approval where contracts have been issued. And we’re going to build more social homes this year.”

Even with supply chain issues, inflation, and coming out of a pandemic of two years where there were two big construction shutdowns, O’Brien said he believes the 24,600 new homes target will be exceeded.

He said there are regular meetings with the Taoiseach, Tánasite and the Cabinet Sub Committee on Housing “to make sure that we keep an eye on Housing for All and how it’s delivered”.

“This is the single housing for all is the single biggest intervention that the state has ever made in housing in the history of the state. You don’t turn it around overnight,” he added.

housing-construction PA New homes under construction at Kilcarbery Grange in Dublin. PA

Pointing back to when there was a Fine Gael-led Government, the housing minister reminded reporters that there was “10 years of underinvestment in housing construction”, stating that back in 2015, just €200 million “was all that was was allocated on the capital side for social homes”.

Under his tenure, the Government is providing €4 billion for social and for affordable homes with multi annual programs, said O’Brien.

“Obviously we look at all the plans we’re delivering. Do you hit bumps in the road? How do you smooth them out? How do you deliver quicker, faster and more efficient?” he said. 

First Home Scheme 

The First Home Scheme, where the State takes a stake in someone’s home, is a “game changer”, according to the minister.

The scheme gives helps first time buyers to be able to buy new homes “by bridging the gap between the finance they have on what they need, by the state stepping in and taking an equity stake, not a second mortgage”, he said. 

“And we’ve had a very, very strong response to that scheme already over the summer months and we’ve actually issued our first contracts for purchase,” he added. 

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