To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government when he will publish regulations for the affordable purchase scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides a new statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase. The Act itself contains significant detail on the new arrangements, reducing the extent to which regulations are required. Insofar as regulations are necessary, the most immediate requirement is for regulations dealing with the making of schemes of priority by local authorities. I will be signing regulations which will deal with that issue shortly, which will allow local authorities to finalise their schemes of priorities by June, as required. Further regulations and detailed guidance will issue to local authorities in the coming weeks.
The new affordable housing scheme is targeted towards low to middle income first time buyer households, with incomes of up to €50,000 and €75,000 in the case of single and dual applicant households, respectively. In terms of the priority areas for operation of the scheme, this will be influenced by the economic assessments which local authorities were asked to carry out in relation to the affordability issues in their areas. The examination of assessments submitted will be finalised shortly.
The new scheme will be set in the context of moderating growth in house prices and rental levels in the market and will complement other key Government affordability initiatives. These include the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, which has seen 575 loans to a total value of some €107m drawn down, and the Help to Buy scheme, under which just under 10,000 applications, to a value of some €142m, have been approved.
The affordable housing scheme will be open to applications according as projects are delivered. In that regard, significant delivery is to be achieved through the €310 million Serviced Site Fund, under which at least 6,200 affordable homes are to be supported over the next three years. An initial 10 projects have been approved for €43m of funding under the first call for proposals under the SSF. A second call will issue shortly and the first homes are expected to be delivered next year.
In addition, some 2,350 affordable homes will be delivered on mainly publicly owned lands being supported through the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund, while 5,600 further homes will benefit from a LIHAF-related cost reduction. The work of the Land Development Agency will also be of crucial importance in terms of delivering more affordable housing; the initial portfolio of sites that the Agency has access to will have the potential, over the short to medium term, to deliver 3,000 affordable homes in line with the Government policy of achieving 30% affordable housing on State lands generally.
In parallel with this, the Dublin local authorities continue to progress a number of other significant housing projects on publicly owned lands, including the redevelopment of O'Devaney Gardens and a site at Oscar Traynor Road in Dublin city, yielding some 250 affordable homes, and 380 cost rental homes to be delivered between projects at the former St. Michael's Estate in Inchicore and at Enniskerry Road in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. The timing of delivery under these projects is contingent on the completion of planning and procurement in the first instance, but the local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible.
In relation to the Poolbeg West SDZ, the Planning Scheme for the area included provision for approximately 550 affordable homes. Delivery of these homes was to be arranged by agreement between Dublin City Council and the landowner and I understand that discussions in this regard, although not yet complete, are at an advanced stage. As Deputies will be aware, there is currently an appeal to An Bord Pleanála in relation to the Planning Scheme for the SDZ. Progress on development of the site is therefore dependent on the timing of the Board's decision.
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