The Government today agreed extra measures under the Housing for All Plan to make it cheaper to build and refurbish homes, speed up home building and drive down building costs across the board.
The new measures will build on the momentum that we’re already seeing this year with work starting on a record 7,349 homes in the first three months of 2023.
The measures comprise:
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Housing for All is working. At the moment about 400 people are buying their first home every week, which is the highest since the Celtic Tiger. We have the best social housing output since the 1970s. After a slowdown, commencements are bouncing back. And we are likely to meet our overall target again this year. But we need to do more.
“We know that merely meeting our own targets won’t be enough. We have a huge deficit in housing and we’re playing catch up. Our mission is to restore the social contract and make home ownership affordable for the majority again. When I was re-appointed as Taoiseach, I said that no option will be taken off the table. The Housing Package approved by Cabinet today is about accelerating Housing for All. It flows from the interim advice to Government of the Housing Commission in February and the Housing Summit back in January.
“We expect these actions will have an immediate impact and increase the number of homes built in the coming years. It should move the dial in terms of those unactivated planning permissions and might be the difference in a young couple taking on a vacant or derelict property, making the best use of our existing housing stock. We have a long way to go, but I am more confident now than ever before we are on the right path.”
Tánaiste, Micheál Martin said “Housing is this Government’s top priority, and Housing For All is working. Supply of new homes is ultimately the solution. In 2022, we built more social houses than we have in almost half a century, and the number of homes completed last year is up 45% on the year before.
“We are making record investment available again this year to give more people, and families, secure, and affordable homes, and to boost the construction of new homes at scale.”
The Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan said: “Last week we published radical proposals to ensure communities gain from land value increases arising from land rezoning. Communities will gain from this uplift in the form of increased housing infrastructure. Taken with implementation of the new Residential Zoned Land Tax, we are addressing land speculation and land hoarding, major sources of land mismanagement. These reforms will help ensure housing gets delivered without unnecessary speculative costs from land mismanagement.’’
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD added: “The greatest security anyone can have is to own the roof over their heads. That is why increasing home ownership is a priority for Government. We’ve introduced a range of major innovations through Housing for All, including the First Home Scheme, which has granted support to 1,336 buyers during its short existence, and the new – and very popular - vacancy grant. We’ve also made a strong start to delivering affordable housing under Housing for All. This year will see more homes delivered for affordable purchase or rent as the pace of delivery quickens.”
Government has also published the Progress Report on Housing for All for the first three months of 2023, with the year off to a good start and work starting on a record number of homes in the first quarter.
Progress has also continued across a range of important measures, including continued take-up of the First Homes Scheme, LDA grant of planning permission for over 1,100 homes, additional capacity for An Bord Pleanála and €41million in capital funding approved for student accommodation. We have seen progress across a number of fundamental reforms in land management and planning, as well as the promotion of innovation in construction.
There is a strong pipeline of social and affordable housing, with over 19,000 social homes at various stages of construction and over 2,700 more affordable homes already approved for funding.
The figures show 10,263 social homes were delivered in 2022 through build, acquisition and leasing. This represents an 11.9% increase on 2021 figures, when 9,169 social homes were provided. The 2022 output represents the highest annual output of social homes in decades.
Of the 10,263 social homes delivered, 7,433 were new-build, a 43% increase on 2021 figures. This is the highest number of new-build social homes delivered since 1975.
Affordable housing delivery figures were also published today and show that 1,757 homes were delivered in 2022 through Cost Rental, the First Home Scheme and the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme. Through Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan, the Government has re-introduced affordable housing opportunities. Housing for All has put affordability at the heart of our housing plans. 2,800 affordable homes have already been approved in respect of 42 specific projects across 15 local authority areas with €210 million committed under the Affordable Housing Fund.
Commenting on the figures, Minister O’Brien said:
“Today’s figures show social housing supply is increasing and that we are going in the right direction. It is encouraging to see the highest level of social housing delivery in decades, despite unforeseen challenges like high construction cost inflation due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is also heartening to see the level of delivery in the first full year of affordable housing provision. Schemes like Cost Rental, First Home and the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme are in their infancy but have already delivered 1,757 homes and are making a real difference to people’s lives. I know that people want to and need to see further delivery and that is what we are going to do.”
Minister O’Brien continued:
“Whilst today’s news is positive, the Government recognises that we need to continue ramping up supply. That is why Government colleagues and I remain focused on delivering Housing for All, which contains the right mix of ambition, guaranteed funding, reform, new initiatives and stability of policy to support the delivery of social and affordable housing. The pipeline is strong, with over 19,000 social homes either onsite or at design and tender stage. This year we will also continue to deliver affordable homes and have targeted 5,500 through our local authorities, the Land Development Agency, the First Home Scheme and our new form of tenure, Cost Rental. We will continue to implement the plan whilst remaining open to introducing new measures where needed to address new and emerging challenges.”
2022 social and affordable housing provision data can be viewed here: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/6060e-overall-social-housing-provision/
This morning the First Home Scheme, which was established by Government last July, published an update for Q1 of this year. Key highlights from the report include:
I am really pleased with the strong interest in the scheme, just eight months on from its establishment. The feedback I’ve received from those who have purchased a home using the scheme is that without it the person would have continued to pay rent while trying to save, rather than paying down a mortgage on their home for life. Testimonies given to the First Home Scheme say that it is very easy to navigate as part of the mortgage process.
The establishment of this scheme was something which Fianna Fáil fought for and now that we are in Government it is a reality.
Attached please find a breakdown with some key stats and any other information can be found at www.firsthomescheme.ie
Minister Noonan and Minister O'Brien announces €8 million to preserve and promote local monuments and historical sites
Welcoming the investment, Minister Noonan said:
“I am delighted to announce funding for 140 archaeological heritage projects across the country under the Community Monuments Fund to a total of €8 million, an increase of 33% on last year. This fund has supported over 330 projects since its establishment in 2020, making a tangible, positive impact to the medieval forts and churches and the historic graveyards and castles into which the lives of our ancestors are woven, along with our own, connecting us to our ancient past.
“It is also, of course, an investment in our future: in the ongoing care, conservation and promotion of these remarkable monuments and historic sites, and in the communities and heritage professionals who expertly manage the effort to conserve, protect and share them. I’d like to thank all of this year’s applicants for their efforts, and wish the successful grantees the very best of luck with their projects.”
The core objective of the Community Monuments Fund is to support the conservation, maintenance, protection, and promotion of local monuments and historic sites, in alignment with the aims of the Government’s new heritage plan, Heritage Ireland 2030, and the Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan. The scheme contains a range of measures that seek to enable conservation to be carried out on archaeological monuments in need of urgent support, encourage access to these monuments and improve their presentation, and build resilience to enable these monuments to withstand the effects of climate change.
The scheme offers three funding streams to support a broad range of measures aimed at protecting and promoting archaeological monuments, including emergency conservation repair works at monuments, masonry repair, the development of Conservation Management Plans, access infrastructure and installation of interpretation signage, and communication projects aimed at disseminating knowledge of Ireland’s archaeological heritage.
Examples of CMF awards this year include:
“When we established the Community Monuments Fund in 2020, we did so with the objective of supporting the heritage sector and providing an effective way to assist Local Authorities and custodians in protecting Ireland’s remarkable yet vulnerable archaeological heritage.
“With my colleague, Minister of State Malcolm Noonan TD, we have grown this Fund yet again from last year, building year on year since its establishment. I am also delighted to see many archaeological monuments in private ownership benefitting – a recognition of the custodianship which is so important to the protection of Ireland’s archaeological heritage.”
Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Kieran O’Donnell TD also welcomed the announcement, stating:
"The phenomenal impact and success of the Community Monuments Fund is a result of the close working relationship between our Department’s National Monuments Service and Local Authorities – the Archaeologists, Conservation Officers, Heritage Officers and planning and administrative staff working in partnership with local communities – highlighting their important role when it comes to cherishing and caring for Ireland’s outstanding heritage. We are very grateful to all of the Local Authorities, custodians, and community groups who work tirelessly with us under this fund to care of our heritage and strengthen an important sense of place in cities, villages and towns all around the country.”
A full list of the projects being funded is available to view or download here.