Surveyors say Budget 16 failed to tackle housing supply in meaningful way
Opportunity to rejuvenate rural towns also missed
Thursday 15th October 2015: The Central Bank has claimed that new mortgage lending rules which it introduced earlier this year have worked.
In an address to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland annual conference in Dublin Deputy Governor Stefan Gerlach argued that macro-prudential policies introduced by the Bank had worked ‘by reducing the speculative element of housing dynamics’.
However Mr Gerlach said it was too early at this stage to assess their impact on lending as the Bank did not have any firm data.
In his address to delegates the President of the SCSI Andrew Nugent described the Government’s failure to introduce direct measures to improve the housing supply as puzzling and disappointing.
“At this stage everyone is aware that the problem in housing is on the supply side. Whilst we acknowledge and welcome the role of NAMA in delivering houses, 20,000 units over the next five years is simply not enough. We need that level of volume each year whilst we also need measures to rejuvenate the main streets of towns around the country.”
“We advocated a range of short to medium term measures to improve viability such as a temporary reduction in VAT, reduced development levies, increased site infrastructure investment and harmonisation of national design standards to our urban areas. We also proposed that a new Housing Authority – akin to the National Roads Authority – be created, charged with the delivery of housing units”
“We strongly believe that if these measures are not introduced promptly price volatility, rent hikes and the pressures we are seeing now on social housing will intensify for the foreseeable future” Nugent concluded.
John Fitzgerald, former Chief Economist with the ESRI said it was very sensible that the tax system was not used in Budget ‘16 to stimulate demand because that isn’t the problem. “The problem is on the supply side and any changes be they regulatory or on the building regulations side, which remove unnecessary costs, would be sensible.
Other speakers at the conference which was attended by 300 delegates included Duncan Bowie a spatial planning expert from the University of Westminster who previously worked for the Mayor of London, Mary Hughes President of the Irish Planning Institute and Paul McGrath Head of Commercial Property for the Cosgrave Property Group.