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Ireland launches Housing for All plan

Ireland launches Housing for All plan

The country’s most ambitious housing programme to date addresses a persisting problem – high construction costs leading up to high property prices

The Irish government has launched Housing for All - a New Housing Plan for Ireland. The ambitious programme aims to allow every Irish citizen to be able to purchase or rent a home at an affordable price through an increased supply of social, affordable and private housing over the next decade. 

The plan is supported by over EUR 4 billion in guaranteed State funding every year, the highest level of Government investment in building social and affordable housing ever. 

The plan also includes measures to ensure that the necessary land, workforce, funding and capacity are available so that the public and private sectors can meet the specified targets. 

Four pathways 

The plan is based on four pathways, to wit:

  1. Supporting home ownership and increasing the affordability of homes;
  2. Eradicating homelessness and social exclusion by stepping up the delivery of social housing;
  3. Increasing new housing supply;
  4. Addressing vacancy and making the most of the existing stock.

Main initiatives 

These are some of the plan’s main initiatives:

  • The largest ever social housing construction programme is to be rolled out with over 90,000 social homes to be delivered by the end of 2030.
  • 54,000 affordable homes are to be provided by the end of this decade. The early target calls for 2,000 ‘Cost Rental’ homes and 4,000 local authority Affordable Purchase Homes.
  • 300,000 homes are to be built by 2030 across the four categories of social, affordable and cost rental, private rental and private ownership. The annual target is for 33 000 homes, increasing to 40 000 by 2030.
  • Access to buying affordable homes will be expanded through an enhanced Local Authority Home Loan Scheme. Single people earning up to EUR 65,000will be able to purchase a home at lower interest rates.
  • Measures, including a new tax, will be introduced to encourage the use of vacant lands for residential housing.
  • Measures will be laid out to reduce construction costs and support innovation in residential construction.
  • Local authorities are to purchase and resell up to 2,500 vacant properties in their areas.

Foundation for a sustainable housing system 

Speaking at the launch of the plan on 2 September, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said, as quoted by MerrionStreet: “Today we are announcing the most ambitious programme of social and affordable housing delivery in the history of the State, with 90,000 social homes and 54,000 affordable homes to be provided by the end of 2030. We will also continue to support our most vulnerable by significantly increasing the number of tenancies for those experiencing homelessness and who have more complex needs. Housing for All will provide the basis for a long-term sustainable housing system for this and future generations.”

Tánaiste (Deputy PM) and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar admitted that construction costs are too high in Ireland which ultimately affects the price of homes and damages the economic competitiveness. To overcome the existing challenges, we need to strengthen the residential construction supply chain and modernise construction methods, which the Housing for All plan takes care of, he added.

The Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan focused on the environmental sustainability aspect of the government’s planning and housing decisions. “The retrofitting of 36,500 local authority-owned properties and the introduction of minimum BERs for rental properties will help move our existing housing stock to a low-carbon future. This will assist with delivering on our national retrofit targets. Moreover, the focus on the circular economy, waste reduction and keeping materials in use throughout the construction process will reduce resource consumption, while also delivering cost reductions.” 

Implications for rural areas 

The Minister for Justice, Social Protection, Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, emphasized the plan’s potential in revitalizing rural Ireland. She specifically mentioned the forthcoming Town Centres First policy aimed at regenerating town centres and promoting residential occupancy and the new Croí Conaithe (Towns) Fund initiative of providing serviced sites for housing in small towns and villages.

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