The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has published its monthly data on the number of Commencements Notices (residential construction starts) for October 2023.
The data show Commencement Notices for 2,624 new homes were received by Building Control Authorities in October 2023. This is an increase of 42.5% on the number of new homes commenced in the same month last year (1,841 units).
The strong uptick in commencements this year has continued and 26,547 homes have been commenced in the first ten months of 2023. This is a 16.6% increase on the same period last year (22,760).
The full commencement data set can be accessed at: Construction Activity Statistics.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has announced the approval of another proposal under the Croí Cónaithe Cities Scheme, for the development of 274 apartments in Blackrock Villas, Cork. This development is the third one to be approved under this scheme and it is the second one in Co. Cork.
Under the scheme to date, contracts have been signed for:
The Scheme launched in May 2022 with an Expressions of Interest process, which is being managed and administered by the Housing Agency on behalf of the Department.
The development at Woodward Court, Glencairn, Murphystown Way, Dublin 18 comprises 53 apartments with a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments.
The development of 68 apartment at Carr’s Hill, Carrigaline Road, Douglas, Cork will comprise 68 apartments with a mix of 1 and 2 bed apartments.
The development at Blackrock Villas, Blackrock, Cork will comprise 274 apartments with a mix of studio, 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments.
The Housing Agency are continuing to appraise additional proposals that have been received in the first and second calls for expressions of interest under the Scheme.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said:
“This is the third proposal under the Croí Cónaithe Cities Scheme which I have approved and a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to address the current “viability gap” between the cost of building apartments and the market sale price.
“I’d like to commend those developers who have engaged with the scheme at an early stage. Their foresight and willingness to embrace this new approach is very much welcome.
“We want to increase the supply of urban, owner-occupier apartments and provide those who wish to purchase a home with a greater choice. Giving people the opportunity to buy a home in our cities will help make them more vibrant. I look forward to making further announcements in relation to other proposals in the near future.”
The Housing Agency’s Chief Executive, Bob Jordan, said:
“Under the Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Scheme, The Housing Agency is working to increase the supply of new apartments for home purchasers. In addition to increasing supply, the scheme will also help deliver more sustainable places to live in our urban centres.”
Next year’s fund will invest €7 million to help owners and custodians of archaeological monuments to safeguard them into the future. It is estimated that the funding for 2024 will support approximately 120 projects nationwide.
The core aims of the Community Monuments Fund are to conserve, maintain, protect and promote local monuments and historic sites. Funding is available to allow conservation works to be carried out on monuments that are deemed to be significant and in need of urgent support. The aim is to encourage access to monuments and improve their presentation and also build their resilience to enable them to withstand the effects of climate change. The fund supports essential repairs and capital works for the conservation of archaeological monuments and also the development of Conservation Management Plans to identify measures that may be needed to conserve monuments. Grants are also available to enhance public access infrastructure and interpretation at archaeological monuments.
Speaking today, Minister of State Noonan said:
“I am delighted to announce a €7 million Community Monuments Fund for 2024. The fund has been a resounding success since it was established in 2020 and is now widely regarded as a vital contributor to the protection and preservation of our precious archaeological heritage. The CMF supports these vulnerable community assets by improving public accessibility and preserving the irreplaceable richness and sense of place that they bring to communities, villages, towns and cities. It also provides thousands of hours of employment for conservation architects, archaeologists, traditional skills workers and others to help deliver on key national policies, such as Heritage Ireland 2030 and the Climate Change Adaptation Plan in relation to archaeological heritage. I look forward to receiving the applications this coming February, 2024.”
Commenting on today’s launch, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, said:
"We are very pleased to announce the Community Monuments Fund for 2024. Funding for this scheme has grown considerably since the inaugural scheme of 2020 and I am thrilled to have secured significant funding again this year. The fund helps to support the heritage sector and provides an extremely impactful way of assisting Local Authorities, State-funded organisations and private owners in protecting our outstanding yet vulnerable archaeological heritage.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell, said:
“Our archaeological heritage lies at the heart of communities across this country, an inheritance of monuments showing a past that we are all obliged to protect. It is fantastic to see the co-operation between Local Authorities and the National Monuments Service in rolling out and operating this fund. I would like to thank the Local Authorities and the National Monuments Service for their dedication and effort in the administration of this important scheme.”
The closing date for applications for the 2024 round of grants is 14 February 2024.
Link to call for projects: Community Monuments Fund 2024 - Call for Projects
Previous projects funded by the Community Monuments Fund include:
Kildare Cathedral Round Tower
St. Canice's Graveyard
Oran Ecclesiastical Site
Malin well old Church
Carlow Town Wall
- Strong momentum in new homes this year with over 22,400 completed in the first three quarters and construction started on almost 24,000 more
- €448m new approvals to deliver over 1,900 affordable homes in 8 local authority locations announced
- Target for assistance to restore properties through the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant doubled to 4,000 homes
- Government to extend access to Local Authority Home Loan to tackle long-term vacancy and dereliction
The Cabinet has agreed today to double the number of homes eligible for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant under the Croí Cónaithe Fund – raising the target to 4,000 homes to be delivered by 2025. The announcement was made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister Darragh O’Brien at a Housing for All quarterly update.
The Government will also broaden the Local Authority Home Loan to make finance available to purchase and renovate derelict or non-habitable properties for the first time. These measures are evidence of the Government’s continued focus on bringing vacant and derelict homes back into use.
In another effort to address vacancy, this time in ‘under-occupied’ social housing, Cabinet have agreed to extend the Rent a Room tax relief from December 1st, on an administrative basis, for those in social housing who wish to rent a room to a third level student. A dedicated webpage, gov.ie/roomforastudent, will provide information on the operation of the scheme.
Emphasising its commitment to social and affordable housing, the Government also announced that new approval has been given for funding of €448m to deliver 250 affordable purchase and over 1,650 cost rental homes.
The new developments will provide homes to both purchase and rent at below market rates and will be located in eight local authority areas (See editor’s note for details).
The Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Ministers Ryan & O’Brien also today published the update of the Housing for All Action Plan, setting out priorities for the year ahead, which will see us building on the momentum to date and continuing the vital reforms.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:
“It’s clear we are making real progress. We can see it on the ground, with new homes and apartments being built all over the country. In the past 12 months, 30,000 new homes have been built. That is 50% more than when this Government came to office, more than double the number when I became Taoiseach in 2017. Housing for All is working. Our task is to focus on implementation and take whatever action is necessary to keep this positive momentum going.”
An Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, T.D. commented:
“There is real momentum in our Housing for All strategy. We are building more affordable homes, delivering more social houses, bringing more vacant properties back to life, and helping more first time buyers to own their own home.
“The Government knows to achieve our targets across all housing types there must be a focus on the long-term sustainability of the residential construction sector. We must continue to help firms bridge the ‘viability gap’ whilst promoting more innovative approaches to the delivery of new homes.”
The Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D. said:
"This updated Plan underlines the Government’s objective to deliver a sustainable housing system. Schemes such as Ready to Build and Croí Cónaithe Cities will facilitate compact urban growth in our towns and cities whilst enhancements to the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant under Housing for All will make more efficient use of our existing housing stock by breathing life back into derelict properties. These initiatives, coupled with the adoption of Modern Methods of Construction, means we can improve productivity whilst building sustainable housing and communities.”
Commenting on the focus on vacancy measures as part of the updated Action Plan, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, T.D. said:
“All the indicators – completions, commencements and planning permissions – are showing a positive momentum and strong delivery. Indeed, by the end of this year, we will have delivered 100,000 homes since 2020, the year this Government was formed. Housing for All underpins this momentum. There is no one magic bullet to tackle housing – as this strategy demonstrates – but a network of required actions across the board.
“For example, in the last two weeks alone, I have approved funding to proceed with the construction of significant affordable housing developments across the country – almost €450m for 1,900 affordable purchase and cost rental homes. These new developments which will provide homes to both purchase and rent at below market rates and will be life changing for the families involved.
“Tackling vacancy is another one of the actions necessary to meet the housing challenge and I’m delighted to say that our interventions here have been highly popular. The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant has been a particular success - with over 2,400 projects currently approved and in progress with payment to be made by the local authorities, when the works are completed and verified. Given the appetite for the Grant, I am delighted today to confirm that we will now double our target for assistance to 4,000 by 2025.
“Furthermore, I am pleased to confirm today that we will be extending the availability of the Local Authority Home Loan to finance the purchase and renovation of derelict and non-habitable properties. This will meet our objective of bringing homes back into use, which is a major focus of Housing for All, and it will also provide a means for many eligible individuals and families out there to finance renovation projects on their own initiative. My officials will now be tasked with finalising the details of implementation to ensure we can have this ready for applicants in Q2 next year.”
While both vacant and derelict properties can qualify for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant (of €50,000 and €70,000 respectively), only habitable properties currently meet the property eligibility of the Local Authority Home Loan. The extension announced today will allow eligible loan applicants to plug any gaps where sufficient finance is not available to complete renovation projects.
Under the Plan, supply of new homes is increasing with over 22,400 new homes completed in the first three quarters of the year. Building started on almost 24,000 new homes in the same period, an increase of 14% on the same period last year. The Government is confident that the 2023 Housing for All target of 29,000 new homes will be exceeded.
More people are buying their first home than in any period in well over a decade, supported by affordable purchase initiatives, including the First Home Scheme, the Local Authority Home Loan and Help-to-Buy, which is extended to the end of 2025. Over 30,000 First Time Buyer mortgages were approved in the twelve months ending September 2023.
The annual update of the Housing for All Action Plan identifies 30 priority actions to activate and accelerate the delivery of housing.
A major emphasis for the remainder of the year and into 2024 will be on measures to improve viability of housing construction, including through the adoption of Modern Methods of Construction, and enhancing construction sector capacity. The year ahead will also see substantial progress made in reforming the planning system.
The Action Plan update launched today will ensure that the focus remains on fast and effective delivery of the schemes and initiatives launched under Housing for All. This, together with the record €5.1 billion in capital investment allocated to housing delivery in Budget 2024, reaffirms this Government’s commitment to sustaining the progress made to date.
Almost 650 new social homes across Dublin City, Galway, Limerick and Wexford to be delivered in new phase of Public Private Partnership Programme
Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme has already provided 1,000 new social homes
A further 3,500 homes are in the pipeline
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, today (13 November) welcomed the launch of new housing projects under the social housing Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme which will deliver almost 650 new social homes.
Titled ‘Bundle 7’ (as the projects to be delivered on these lands are bundled into a group within each phase and this is the seventh such grouping), the new homes will be built on sites in Dublin City Council, Galway County Council, Limerick City and County Council and Wexford County Council areas.
Today’s launch builds on the significant progress which has already been made under previous stages of this programme, including:
Welcoming the new phase of social housing, Minister O’ Brien said:
“Housing for All commits to increasing the supply of new build social housing to an average of 10,000 per annum between 2022 and 2030 and we are employing every resource at our disposal to achieve this.
The Social Housing Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme represents one of the many strands of delivery to increase the quantity of social housing. Housing for All also includes a specific objective to increase the use of PPPs to deliver social housing and today’s announcement is a significant contributor to achieving this.
The success of this model for social housing delivery is evident as it has already provided 1,000 high-quality new homes, with another 3,500 in the pipeline.
Today’s announcement underlines this Government’s commitment to building more social homes and demonstrates the proactive approach we are taking to tackle our housing challenges.”
This announcement is part of the social housing PPP programme being delivered by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and relevant local authorities. Other key stakeholders involved in progressing the programme include the Housing Delivery and Co-Ordination Office, Dublin City Council and Cork County Council (the latter two are engaged as the lead local authorities for Bundles 1, 3, 4, 5 and Bundles 2 and 6 respectively).