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Sinn Féin’s magical €300k home notion won’t fool the public – Cummins

No policy or plan from Mary Lou McDonald to back up last month's housing claim

30th January 2024 - Senator John Cummins

Sinn Féin’s proposal to provide Dublin homes for €300,000 is unrealistic nonsense and further highlights the party’s inability to plan for any of the basic tasks that come with responsible leadership, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator John Cummins, Fine Gael’s Housing Spokesperson said Sinn Féin’s recent claims that they can deliver €300,000 homes in Dublin further highlights the party’s shortcomings with basic economics.

“The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) recently conducted an independent analysis of the costs of construction which showed that it currently costs €460,000 to deliver a new three bedroom home in Dublin to the market, with the average price of same falling to €397,000 outside of Dublin.

“Bearing today’s reality in mind, Sinn Féin’s notion that they can reduce prices to €300,000 in Dublin would require house prices to fall by a colossal 35%. This would, in real terms, bring about a house price crash similar to 15 years ago,” Senator Cummins explained.

“Lest we need reminding, that crash did not resolve a housing crisis, rather it created one. We saw our construction industry shrink by two thirds at that time, and supply dropped dramatically to under 5,000 homes per annum in 2013 – an unconscionable scenario when we consider that 32,700 homes were completed last year.

“Sinn Féin must explain how their immense reduction to €300,000 can be achieved. We know that 53% of the cost of building a home is made up of hard costs, such as building and labour costs.

“The remaining 47% of the cost of delivering a home comes from ‘soft costs’, such as land, levies and finance costs. Who will bear the cost of the 35% reduction they say they will deliver – Sinn Féin themselves?

Are they proposing to abolish VAT and preventing developers from making a margin? Maybe they’re proposing to pay all the finance costs and legal/professional fees that go with constructing a house?

“Their spokesman simply says that by removing land costs and levies, (which have already been temporarily waived, a policy which Sinn Fein opposed) that houses can magically be delivered for the €300,000 figure. The CEO of the Land Development Agency debunked this notion at the Joint Oireachtas Committee last week when he confirmed that the LDA’s delivery costs were in line with the SCSI’s cost report.

Senator Cummins continued: “Even if it were feasible to get to the €300,000 figure by eliminating all soft costs, the terms and conditions which Sinn Fein admit they will impose would mean that those who purchase an affordable dwelling under their policy will remain as quasi renters because they will never own the land on which it is built.

“In simple terms, this means Sinn Féin will prevent you from selling the property on to whomever you want and for what price in the future, despite paying your €300,000 mortgage – that is not real homeownership.

“The reality is that a reduction of the scale that Sinn Féin has landed on simply cannot be done. And if it were attempted, we’d see our construction sector and economy crash, a new generation of people held hostage to negative equity, and those who managed to secure the €300,000 prize would never have the ability to own their own home outright.

“Mary Lou McDonald said that on economic policy, Sinn Féin in government would not be ‘pulling rabbits out of hats’. Their house price claim is the ultimate trick – no calculation, no explanation, no solution to be seen – just more sleight of hand which won’t fool the public.

“It’s more than a month since Sinn Féin’s leader announced her €300,000 homes, but we haven’t seen a single policy document or plan on how it would be achieved. And the reason for that is simple – Sinn Féin and Mary Lou McDonald know it cannot be achieved,” Senator Cummins said.

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