To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the status of the affordable homes scheme; the amount spent to date; the amount anticipated to be drawn down by the end of 2019; the number of sites identified; the timeframe for delivery; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the status of the cost-rental scheme pilot project; the timeframe for its completion; the income criteria; the selection process to be used; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 was commenced in June 2018 to provide a new statutory basis for affordable dwelling purchase arrangements. Initial regulations in relation to schemes of priorities were made subsequently and further regulations will be put in place over the coming months regarding eligibility and other matters.
In order to support the delivery of discounted homes to buy or rent, this Government has committed €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund, from 2019 to 2021, to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of some 6,200 homes. To date, funding of €127 million, in support of 35 projects in 13 local authority areas, has been allocated for infrastructure works on sites that will support the delivery of almost 3,200 homes.
The overall cost and the timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of design, planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible. The price of homes that will be offered for purchase under the scheme will vary on a development by development basis, but Dublin City Council, for example, has indicated that it expects to have 2 bedroom homes available in Ballymun in the €148,000 - €168,000 price range.
The first cost rental project, at Enniskerry Road in Stepaside, has gone on site and will deliver over 150 homes, 50 of which will be cost rental. My Department has been in contact with the local authority concerned in relation to the commencement of drawdown of funding. The remaining projects are currently at the stages of design and planning and, accordingly, local authorities are not yet drawing down allocated funds. I anticipate that the bulk of expenditure will arise as projects reach the construction phase.
The Enniskerry Road project, which I formally launched last week, is one of two ‘pathfinder’ pilot projects for cost rental. The homes involved are due to be completed in 2021 and tenants will pay €1,200 per month to live in the two-bedroom apartments. This rent is based on the cost of delivering and maintaining the homes, and is a significant reduction when compared to market rents in the area.
In relation to the St. Michael's Estate site at Emmet Road, Dublin City Council is continuing to make progress on the preliminary work on this project. It is estimated that this site can accommodate approximately 470 homes in a high quality mixed tenure development, including approximately 330 cost rental homes, and the Development Framework Plan for the site has recently been completed.
Dublin City Council is engaging with my Department according to the best-practice guidelines set out in the Capital Works Management Framework, and is currently procuring an architect-led Integrated Design Team, who will be responsible for designing the scheme and taking it as far as the planning stage. I am determined that work will continue to progress apace on this project over the coming months and that lessons learned from the modelling at this location are applied to the ongoing development work for a national Cost Rental model.
In terms of that work to progress the cost rental agenda more generally, I have convened a working group led by my Department, also involving the Land Development Agency, the Housing Agency and other bodies, to develop the cost rental policy framework, to provide for a sustainable financing structure and to allow us commence delivery of homes at scale. In order to assist with this work, in May 2019 my Department signed an agreement with the European Investment Bank to officially engage them to undertake a research project into Cost Rental on our behalf.
Detailed operational and eligibility criteria for Cost Rental will be informed by this evidence building and policy work. This work will be concluded well in advance of the completion of construction work on the first homes at Enniskerry Road.
These new schemes are set in the context of significant moderation in the growth in house prices and complement other key Government affordability initiatives.
Included among these are the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, under which over 1,000 loans had been drawn down by end June this year, and the Help to Buy Scheme, under which some 14,000 applications have been approved. In addition, the Land Development Agency's initial portfolio of sites will have the potential to deliver 3,000 affordable homes and the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund ( LIHAF) will support more than 2,300 affordable homes on mainly publicly owned lands, while 5,600 further homes will benefit from a LIHAF- related cost reduction, some of which have already come on stream.
In overall terms, programmes are in place under which some 18,000 affordable homes or homes with a LIHAF-related reduction will be delivered, with 15,000 households already supported under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan or the Help to Buy Scheme.
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