“Does Fianna Fáil want history to repeat itself?” asks Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Maria Bailey. Deputy Bailey was speaking after Fianna Fáil mooted an extension of Fine Gael’s first time buyers’ initiative, which she says will bring us back to boom and bust again.
“The Government’s radical housing plan, “Rebuilding Ireland – Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness” is underway, and we are determined to undo the turmoil caused in our housing sector by 14 years of Fianna Fáil Government.
“Part of this comprehensive housing plan is our first time buyers’ initiative, which will involve a tax incentive aimed at helping people to get on the property ladder. The whole idea is to increase the supply of housing into the market, which will actually be of benefit to all house buyers, not just first time buyers.
“In order to ensure that this initiative increases supply without overheating the market, the tax relief must be limited to those buying newly built homes. In this way it will stimulate construction and increase supply, which should make housing more affordable for everyone. If it was not restricted in this way it would be unlikely to have to same effect on supply and would instead simply just push up prices for all prospective house purchasers.
“Fianna Fáil, in an effort to find something to criticise, assert that this initiative should not be restricted to new builds. It’s the same old Fianna Fáil with their reckless approach to housing and the economy. Extending such a tax relief to all types of housing, would only serve to push up prices, overheat the market and lead to another disastrous housing bubble.
“We all remember the disastrous effects of the last housing bubble on the Irish economy. People and families all over Ireland are still feeling the effects of it. Fianna Fáil felt the effects of it at the ballot box but still, somehow, they have not learned from the experience.
“This is one just one of many initiatives in what is a very comprehensive plan designed to increase housing supply generally, including accelerating the building of social housing and solving the problem of homelessness. But we must proceed with caution and avoid a return to boom and bust economics. Our first time buyers’ initiative will specifically help to increase supply in the market which will benefit all house buyers. Without increased supply of housing generally, we can never reach affordability.”