Affordable homes plan lacks clear timeline

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy cannot guarantee affordable homes on State-owned lands will be available this year, despite a funding boost of €50m.

Mr Murphy confirmed the additional funds would be diverted to local authorities to prepare sites for building developments.

Councils in Dublin, Galway and Cork are reviewing State-owned lands and have identified the potential for 4,000 homes.

However, Mr Murphy said this was the “minimum ambition” for the scheme and he hoped 10,000 homes would be made available.

Applications for funding from the serviced sites fund will open next week, and the minister said it was expected work would get under way on sites approved this year.

However, when asked in the Dáil how many homes were likely to be made available under the scheme in 2018, Mr Murphy said: “I hope to see some affordable purchase homes accessed this year, but we will certainly have affordable purchase scheme homes accessed next year.”

Under the scheme, all local authorities will be required to assess if affordable homes are cost-effective and necessary for their area.

The criteria a council will have to satisfy to put forward the case for affordable homes will include house prices, rents and disposable income trends in their area, as well as the cost of building.

The 10 sites where affordability pressures are greatest are due to be shortlisted following this process.

The homes will be made available to couples who earn less than €75,000, and €50,000 in the case of a single person, similar to other schemes under ‘Rebuilding Ireland’.

Local authorities will have to run a lottery in their area as each scheme comes online.

Irish Independent

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