Tuesday 25th April 2023: The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland has welcomed new measures announced by the Government aimed at cutting the cost of renovating vacant properties and building new homes.
Last month the SCSI published ‘The Real Cost of Renovation Report’, the purpose of which was to highlight the financial and regulatory challenges people face when trying to bring buildings back into use and to make recommendations on how these barriers might be overcome.
The report shows that only 5 of 20 case studies are financially viable for renovation without any grants but if you increase the Croi Conaithe grant by €50,000 to €100,000 the number of properties that become viable, doubles.
SCSI CEO, Shirley Coulter, said increasing the grants was a positive move.
“The Government has decided to increase the Croi Conaithe grant by €20,000 to €70,000 for derelict properties. This really is a step in the right direction. Perhaps equally as important is the fact grants will now be available for homes built before 2007 – under previous rules, it was only open to houses built before 1993 – so this means a lot more homes, including those in ghost estates will be eligible for grants. In addition, grants will now be available to people renovating properties for the rental market – prior to this the grants were only available for homes purchased for owner occupation.”
“In our report, we called for feasibility grants to be made available to prospective purchasers of vacant or derelict buildings – as they are in Scotland – so people would know in advance if a project is viable. Of course, such feasibility studies would also safeguard taxpayer’s money by ensuring that grants were not made to unviable projects.”
The SCSI also welcomed the announcement of new measures aimed at cutting the costs of constructing new homes.
“Given the supply chain difficulties caused by covid and dramatic increases in the price of building materials due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, all of which are outside our control, we urged the Government to tackle issues within our control, particularly in regard to soft costs such as development contributions and utility charges. We were also conscious that many projects may stall or not commence due to rising costs and fears over their viability.”
“In a submission to Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage last May, the SCSI called on Government to examine ways of reducing development contributions and utility connection fees. As such, we welcome the Government’s decision to introduce a temporary exemption on development levies along with an exemption for water connection fees. We need to drive down construction costs to ensure the viability of housing developments, and reducing soft costs is an effective way of doing this.”
“The introduction of a new cost-rental subvention scheme which will provide funding for up to €150,000 per unit is also most welcome and will hopefully increase the supply of more affordable rental accommodation in the market. A SCSI report in January highlighted the high numbers of landlords leaving the market, with agents indicating that 40% of sales in Q4 2022 were landlords selling their investment properties. We believe further measures are needed to staunch that flow and indeed to attract investors into the market.”
“Based on housing completion projections, the SCSI estimates there will need to be an increase of almost 5% in new home output each year to 2030 to meet the targets outlined in ‘Housing for All’. According to this measure, Ireland would need to be building 27,000 new homes this year, rising to 39,000 in five years’ time and over 45,000 by 2030.
“The National Planning Framework is due to announce a review of the current ‘Housing for All’ targets in the near future, and it’s likely to suggest more supply is needed to meet the demands of our growing population. It’s clear the scale of Ireland’s housing challenge is set to intensify,” Ms Coulter warned.
For further information
Contact Kieran Garry