Affordable homes for families will lead to sustainable housing market – Bailey

-   Maria Bailey TD

A Fine Gael TD has called for a range of affordable housing schemes to help families, couples and individuals get on the property ladder at a fair and realistic cost.

Dun Laoghaire TD, Maria Bailey, said she wants to see a broad range of options in the rental and purchase sector provided to first time buyers by Government under a new scheme to be delivered on State owned and private lands.

“Nationwide, there are over 700 State owned sites that have been identified and can be used for future homes. Some may require additional infrastructure to service the site. There are two key elements to my proposal: ‘Affordable Purchase’ and ‘Affordable Rent to Buy’,” she said.

Deputy Bailey, who serves as Chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee, fully understands the difficulties for families and first time buyers looking to secure their first home. And now the Fine Gael TD believes that in order to fulfil demand, ‘Affordable Housing’ schemes must be delivered by Government working with local authorities.

“In terms of ‘Affordable Purchase’, homes can be delivered on State owned land thus reducing the cost of build through public-private partnerships or direct build as part of mixed tenure where appropriate. Local authorities would establish a scheme tailored for their area. People would apply to their council once they qualify through their income level which I would expect to be determined by Government.

“With ‘Affordable Rent to Buy’, where rent from a home has been collected over a certain period of time by the local authority from council properties, the option would be in place to purchase homes under ‘Rent to Buy’ criteria for successful applicants. A credit would be applied for the rent paid to date and reduced from the overall sale price. The balance is then repayable by mortgage which is provided by a financial institution.

“There is already a scheme similar to this in Shanganagh Castle in Shankill, Dublin 18. It was brought forward by Cllr John Bailey, Chair of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Housing SPC, Cllr Michael Merrigan and Cllr Shane O’Brien and is currently out on a feasibility study. In this scheme, there will be approximately 200 social homes and apartments and 340 affordable homes (200 affordable homes and 140 rent to buy). Such a scheme could be replicated in various sizes on State owned land where there is a demand,” Deputy Bailey said.

Ahead of a Housing Summit to be held later this month, Deputy Bailey said tangible progress is being made to provide homes nationwide and affordable homes are the next logical step to a sustainable housing market.

Planning permissions for 19,246 new homes were granted in the twelve month period to end June 2017 (up 49% year on year) while commencement notices for 17,151 new homes nationwide were submitted in the twelve month period to end October 2017 (up 37% year on year). On top of this, 772 sites nationwide are being developed/in the pipeline for social housing which will result in 13,000 much needed homes.

“This is an opportune moment for Government and local authorities to come forward with affordable schemes which will assist more people in their pursuit of owning a home. This could be delivered in consultation with various stakeholders within the sector to drive delivery. Recognising the pressures that many households face in paying rents or saving to purchase their house, it is timely that the government bring forward new and innovative measures to work alongside existing schemes.

“This is a hugely important issue for me, both nationally and locally in my own area of Dun Laoghaire where there is a serious lack of affordable housing in the area forcing many people to move further afield thus having to commute longer distances,” Deputy Bailey added.

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