Finance to fund construction and development along with availability of finance for people to purchase these new homes are key concerns
Thursday 10th November 2016. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) say they “broadly welcome” the latest announcement by Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to fast-track the delivery of 30,000 new homes in urban centres across the country.
Reacting to the announcement from the SCSI’s Annual Conference in Dublin today Claire Solon, President of the SCSI said “We welcome and support the latest actions announced by the Minister to help stimulate the housing market in key areas of demand in an effort to address the lack of supply. In particular we welcome the fast-tracking of residential housing schemes and the identification of significant land holdings for potential development.”
Ms Solon said, “the intention to reform the planning process is a very practical way to ensure faster turnaround of projects. However, this intention must be backed up with the provision of increased manpower in local authorities and An Bord Pleanala to meet the potential increase in large scheme applications.”
In describing the scale of the announcement on the number of new homes proposed as “ambitious” Ms. Solon said that the society have some concerns on the delivery of the proposed actions. “Availability and cost of land for development, VAT, site costs and the availability of labour to get developments started on site all need to be addressed. We addressed all these critical factors in our Real Cost of New House Delivery Report earlier this year, a report which is referenced within the Minister’s Housing Action Plan. Availability of development finance at affordable levels to fund these projects is also key to ensuring the delivery of the Minister’s proposals. Government has no choice but to get involved in the provision of finance in a more significant way if they are looking for quick solutions. It’s done in other countries, particularly after significant downturns and we need to adopt this approach here.”
Mortgage finance for purchasers of completed units is also a concern. “It is debatable that there is enough finance out there to support the purchase of all these new homes. While a proportion no doubt will be targeted at the rental market, the homes that are made available for purchase must come in at a cost which will fit well within the Central Bank’s macro prudential rules policy.”
Ms Solon said the society was looking forward to supporting the Government’s plans. “Our role is to provide independent expertise and key information to help deliver on this latest action plan to provide much needed homes and accommodation to the people who need them.”