The publication showed that 8,452 new homes were completed in Quarter 3 of this year. This is an increase of 14.4% on the same three months of 2022 (7,388 units). Overall a record 22,443 homes have been completed in the first nine months of 2023 so far - an 8.9 % increase on the same period in 2022 and the highest number of completions recorded for the first three quarters of any year since the CSO data series began in 2011.
Today’s information also shows:
• Apartment completions rose 47.3% in the 12 months to Q3 2023
• There was a 36.7% rise in completions in Dublin
• Significant rises also in the Midlands (25.9%), Border (14.9%) and Mid-West (13.8%) regions
Minister O'Brien said:
“Supply is central to dealing with all the key challenges in housing. All the key indicators are trending upwards. The number of planning permissions for the first nine months of this year were up. In the same period, the number of new build homes commenced was almost 24,000 homes - a 14.3% increase on the same period last year. And now, today’s CSO figures on completions show supply is increasing and that we are going in the right direction.
Our housing target for 2023 is 29,000 new homes and today’s news strongly signals that we will meet this target – if not exceed it. I also note that earlier this week that it was reported that the Construction Industry Federation were indicating that next year we could witness the biggest amount of housebuilding since the Celtic tiger era.
All of this momentum is welcome but we are not complacent. I have always said that there is no one single magic bullet to solve the housing crisis but rather a variety of complementary initiatives and reforms. Whether it’s planning reforms, new supports for prospective home buyers, cost rental and other initiatives for tenants or incentives to encourage more construction, this Government is leaving no stone unturned to deliver on our targets under Housing for All.”
The CSO data can be accessed here at the CSO webpage.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD today welcomed a major financing mechanism to give Higher Education Institutions the capacity to potentially deliver more than 2,700 student beds across Ireland.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) have today agreed a new €434 million student accommodation financing initiative to support higher education institutions in the development of affordable student housing.
In the first ever dedicated student accommodation funding deal between the EIB and the HFA, this major financing resource will be made available to deliver new and additional student beds through the construction and refurbishment of accommodation at Irish universities.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “This is fantastic news for Irish universities and their students and I want to pay tribute to the EIB and HFA for delivering this important agreement.
“Every student bed we create has a double benefit. It helps the student and their family, but it also frees up private rental accommodation in our cities and towns. This investment by the EIB and HFA will have significant benefits for access to education, and crucially to the wider housing market.”
The investment announced today is separate to the Government announcement where a total of up to €61 million has been provided to unlock the development of over 1,000 beds across four universities, with delivery beginning in 2024.
Minister Harris added: “This announcement will assist institutions with the cost of building accommodation and help bridge the gap between viability and affordability for students.
“Applications will now open and I look forward to seeing the outcome of this important partnership.”
The funding arrangement involves a 40-year €200 million loan from the EIB, with the HFA more than matching the investment, bringing the total to €434 million. This funding will form part of the 25% of the Housing For All commitment made by the HFA.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien said: “This Government is focussed on scaling up the supply of all types of housing and accommodation, including student accommodation which we know is so badly needed.
"The HFA is already playing a significant role in facilitating the delivery of thousands of social and affordable homes throughout the country. So it is well placed to play a lead role in improving the supply of student accommodation. I want to commend everyone involved in this historic agreement.”
In 2021 the HFA was empowered to provide financing to Higher Education Institutions to support the delivery of student accommodation and more recently received approval to extend this lending to Technological Universities. Work is underway to develop the long term policy for student accommodation with the University and Technological University sector.
A feasibility study is underway to identify specific student accommodation demand and supply by region and to inform appropriate responses for delivery for the Technological Sector, including an examination of a specific TU borrowing framework as a mechanism to deliver financed student accommodation in key areas.
To date, the HFA has provided financing of €261.2 million to support the delivery of 2,403 student beds.
Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided €950 million for housing investment by the HFA.
Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Finance Agency, said: “The Housing Finance Agency was delighted to welcome President Hoyer to Dublin to mark the establishment of this significant new student housing finance package.
“We had the pleasure of visiting new student accommodation delivered by the University of Galway and Trinity College Dublin in recent months and were impressed by the quality and innovation of the developments.
"We are proud to support these housing schemes with financing and we are eager to work with Higher Education Institutions to facilitate the delivery of more high quality, affordable student accommodation across the country.
“This latest cooperation between the HFA and the EIB will ensure that long-term, competitive financing is available for new student housing projects over the next five years.”
Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, added: “The European Investment Bank is committed to backing visionary investment that strengthens access to education across Europe and over the last decade has supported transformational investment at hundreds of Irish schools and all Irish universities as well as construction of social housing across the country.
“The €200 million 40-year EIB financing agreed with our long-standing partner HFA today will build new student accommodation across Ireland, providing students will better and more affordable places to live and reduce pressure on local housing.”
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has published its monthly data on the number of Commencements Notices (residential construction starts) for September 2023.
The data shows Commencement Notices for 2,607 new homes were received by Building Control Authorities in September 2023. This is an increase of 18% on the number of new homes commenced in the same month last year (2,211 units).
The strong uptick in commencements this year has continued and 23,923 homes have been commenced in the first nine months of 2023. This is a 14.3% increase on the same period last year (20,919).
The full commencement data set can be accessed at: Construction Activity Statistics
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has this evening (Wednesday October 11th) reaffirmed in a pledge the commitment made by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan, to protect 30% of Ireland’s marine areas by 2030. In a new ‘Message from Malahide’ the Minister addressed an audience of delegates from nine Member States attending a European Commission Seminar in Dublin. He highlighted Ireland’s significant progress in meeting the targets to protect marine areas as outlined in the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is hosting this three-day seminar in Malahide, Co. Dublin, together with the European Commission. The event is one of a series and brings Member States together to assess progress on the EU Biodiversity Strategy, an ambitious, long term plan for protecting nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems. The strategy contains specific actions and commitments including targets for a larger EU–wide network of protected areas on land and sea. This includes legal protection of at least 30% of EU terrestrial and marine areas by 2030. The European Commission has requested Member States to supply voluntary pledges indicating their contribution to the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 protected area targets.
In his address this evening, Minister O’Brien said
“I would like to thank the European Commission for inviting Ireland to host this timely seminar which focuses on one of our most precious resources – our seas. Ireland has an extensive marine area that is rich in biodiversity and provides huge benefits for health and well-being, supports a myriad of coastal communities and is an important component of climate adaptation.
We have signalled our intention to meet these targets by increasing the marine area in our Natura Network from just over 2% of our waters two years ago, to almost 10% today. New legislation, the Marine Protected Areas Bill is also in progress which will legally underpin the designation of Marine Protected Areas. These actions, along with my Department’s pledge here today demonstrate real commitment to protecting our marine biodiversity.”
A number of national and European NGOs are attending the seminar. Speakers include Andrea Vettori, Head of the Nature Conservation Unit at the EU’s DG Environment, EU Commission, scientific experts, and government officials from across Europe who outlined their own country pledges and approaches to meeting targets.
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, who closes the seminar this Friday, said:
“Ireland is proud and determined not just to play its part, but to lead in protecting our irreplaceable marine biodiversity.
Natura sites play a key role in protecting biodiversity, including large numbers of seabirds. Recently we notified new Natura sites - two large offshore reef Special Area of Conservation (SAC) sites and a large Special Protection Area (SPA) on the east coast. In doing this, we are protecting vulnerable birds and species, and increasing our network of marine protected areas.
Reversing the decline of our biodiversity requires practical action from all of us – governments, civil society, the scientific community and members of the public. Ireland can and will lead by example.”
Niall O’Donnchú, Director General of the NPWS said:
“We welcome this opportunity to come together with our European colleagues to address this common challenge, share experience and think creatively about our responses to protecting our marine areas. While there is much to learn from the experience of other countries, Ireland has also shown that it has much to offer. I look forward to further engagement with partners and stakeholders in Ireland and across the EU as we build on the work we have done at this seminar.”
Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage unprecedented budget package of near €7bn announced
Capital funding being provided for housing in 2024 at a record €5 billion
Significant funding for Local Authorities, Water, Planning and Heritage
The Government’s significant investment in Housing, Local Government and Heritage was reaffirmed today [10th October] as Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell TD, and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, unveiled a budget package for 2024 of €6.94bn.
Reflecting the importance placed on Housing for All, the Government’s national strategy, there will be a record €5.1bn capital investment in housing in 2024 - made up of €2.6bn exchequer, €978m Land Development Agency (LDA) and €1.5bn Housing Finance Agency (HFA) funding.
The Minister for Housing also informed Cabinet colleagues today of his intention to seek Cabinet approval for an additional €6.75bn in funding for the LDA and the HFA. This is part of Ireland’s long term investment in future housing need.
Minister O’Brien emphasised that Housing for All is taking hold, with record commencements, completions and first time buyer purchases seen across 2023 - and that this year’s Budget will help add to the momentum created over the last two years.
Minister O’Brien said:
“The capital funding being provided for housing in 2024, coupled with LDA and HFA investment, stands at a record €5bn – the highest ever in the history of the State. This funding will ensure we can continue to deliver new affordable homes for purchase and rent at pace.
“More than €760 million in direct affordability and home ownership funding will support the initiatives we have put in place such as Cost Rental, the First Home Scheme, the Affordable Housing Fund, the Secure Tenancy Affordable Rental investment scheme and the Help-to-Buy initiative. I am very glad to see that my colleague the Minister for Finance has extended the Help-to-Buy to the end of 2025 and made some technical amendments ensuring its optimal interaction with local authority affordable purchase schemes.
“Our focus for capital investment in social housing will be on new build – with the funding we have received supporting the delivery of 9,300 new build social homes in 2024. I’m pleased to be in a position to announce the increase of the single stage approval process threshold from €6m to €8 million meaning our local authorities will have greater autonomy in constructing social housing developments. Social homes will also be delivered through a continuation of the successful Tenant in Situ scheme.
“The Minister for Finance has announced an increase in the Renters Tax Credit to €750 and the introduction of significant changes to the tax treatment of landlords. This is something I have advocated for and I believe is crucial as we scale up the supply of homes all across the country.
“Up to 10,200 new households will have their housing needs met under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), as well as continuing support for over 74,000 existing tenancies under these schemes. HAP and RAS are vital, direct, supports for households. We are reducing our reliance on such schemes and since 2020 over 14,000 individuals and families exited from HAP to social housing provided by local authorities and AHBs.
“Those without a home remain the top priority for this Government and for next year, I will be making funding of €242 million available for the delivery of homeless services to ensure that local authorities can provide emergency accommodation and others services to households experiencing homelessness , and – crucially - that households at risk of homelessness are prevented from entering into emergency accommodation and those in emergency accommodation are supported to exit into secure tenancies as quickly as possible. This will be kept under continual review in 2024 with a commitment to respond to any arising challenges and provide any necessary funding required.
“An acquisition fund of €35 million, administered by the Housing Agency, will be used for Housing First acquisitions. Housing First is an internationally recognised, evidence-based model for individuals who are long-term homeless with complex needs. In practice, it means permanent homes for individuals who have complex lives, without any preconditions around sobriety or mental health treatment, and then providing them with a range of wrap-around supports to help them maintain their tenancy. It’s a crucial scheme in our efforts to help those who have been entrenched in homelessness.
“Our efforts to tackle vacancy and dereliction will continue unabated with the Croí Conaithe fund increased substantially for 2024 which provides the funding for the Vacant and Derelict Property Refurbishment Grant and the Ready to Build Scheme. This ‘carrot’ approach will be carefully balanced with the ‘stick’ approach of the Vacant Property Tax which has been increased to five times the Local Property Tax (LPT).
“The LDA and HFA are crucial to our Housing for All plans and I will be seeking Cabinet approval in the coming weeks to capitalise the LDA to the tune of €6bn and increase the HFA borrowing limit from €10bn to €12bn as part of Ireland’s long term investment plans. The HFA increase in particular will support our AHB delivery partners to continue delivering Cost Rental and social housing at scale.
“Next year, we have the funding and focus to ensure that more homes will be built across the State for those who are looking to buy but we also have a Budget that will allow us to help the most vulnerable and assist those who need help the most.”
Other key highlights of today’s Budget announcement for housing include:
Funding of €1.86bn available to support the delivery of social homes by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies under the Local Authority Housing, Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) budgets.
Minister O’Brien also pointed to the Budget’s largest ever allocation of €1.8 billion for Water Services in 2024. He added:
“This investment will allow us to deliver the transformative change required to respond to water quality challenges, biodiversity loss and climate change. Through this funding, we will provide for significant improvements in our public water and waste water services, support improved water supplies in rural Ireland, and support a range of programmes delivering improved water quality in our rivers, lakes and marine area”.
Regarding funding for Local Authorities, following a review of the Local Property Tax (LPT) Baseline Funding in 2023, there will be an €75.4 million increase in this funding, bringing the total baseline to €428.4 million in 2024. Every local authority receives a minimum (‘baseline’) amount of funding from LPT, supplemented by funding from the exchequer where a local authority’s LPT income is lower than its baseline.
Minister O’Donnell, the Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, welcomed the completion of this review, and noted the important work completed by the review group earlier this year. He pointed out:
“Our Local Authorities provide thousands of services and are the most visible presence of the State in the everyday lives of citizens. In the last few years, they have played a key role in the State’s response to the pandemic and to the arrival of Ukrainian people seeking shelter. This significant increase in baseline funding should go a long way towards easing current pressures on them, with every local authority receiving an increase in baseline funding of at least €1.5 million.”
Minister O’Donnell is currently progressing the necessary legislation for a Directly Elected Mayor of Limerick through the Houses of the Oireachtas with a view to enactment by the end of the year, with the first Mayoral election in Limerick being held in June 2024.
In total, funding of over €4.3 million is being provided in 2024 to support the establishment of the Office and to provide for a Mayoral Budget to support the Mayor in their role, and the delivery of their Mayoral Programme.
“Safer Together” National Fire Safety Week campaign asks people to look out for vulnerable neighbours
• Campaign reminds people to ensure their own homes are safe from fire but also to check in on more vulnerable members of our society
• Expanded Community Fire Alarm Scheme sees additional €100,000 invested in free smoke alarms adapted to the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
• Emphasises fire safety advice: have a working smoke alarm on each level of the home, check it regularly, remove obvious dangers and have an escape plan for your home
The annual Fire Safety Week campaign launched this morning in Lisburn, Co. Antrim asking people to check in on vulnerable neighbours, while continuing to remind people of the need to take fire safety precautions in their own homes. Alongside the campaign launch, the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management has also announced an additional €100,000 this year for the provision of specially-adapted smoke alarms for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, to be distributed via local Fire Authorities.
National Fire Safety Week, 09 - 15 October focuses on enhancing fire safety, particularly in the home.
The latest data released by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) in the Republic of Ireland reveals that smoking materials were the most common cause of fatality in Ireland in 2022 and over 60% of fire fatalities were among those aged 65 and over. The incidence of serious house fires is much higher for older people living alone.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:
“Local communities play an important role in fire prevention and this year we’re asking people to check in with vulnerable neighbours, family and friends in their communities. A working smoke alarm is the first line of defence should a fire break out and this year we’ve invested an additional €100,000 to provide specially adapted smoke alarms for more vulnerable members of our society. These will be available for free through the expanded Community Smoke Alarm Scheme from local Fire Authorities who are doing ongoing work with community groups to prevent fire in the home. Alongside that initiative, in our advertising campaign we’re asking individual people to help with that effort by calling in on vulnerable neighbours and checking that they have a working smoke alarm.”
Speaking at the launch, Keith Leonard, Director NDFEM added:
“Enhancing engagement with citizens is at the forefront of our public services at both local and national level. Fire Authorities work with many community organisations and would welcome involvement from other groups representing vulnerable members of society to reduce incidences of fire. We encourage organisations working with at risk groups to reach out to their local fire service and explore ways to work together to prevent fire.”
Aidan Jennings, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, NIFRS explains:
“Our partner agencies and caring professionals are the ’eyes and ears’ for us in the community. They work incredibly hard and play an invaluable part in helping NIFRS keep those most at risk in our community safe from fire.
This Fire Safety Week we are reconnecting with all our partners to explore what additional support we can offer them to help be fire aware. We are also asking others who work closely with those most at risk in our community to consider becoming one of our partners.”
Recent CSO Census Data showed that over 70,000 homes in Ireland are still without a working smoke alarm. As with previous Fire Safety campaigns the directorate are emphasising the need for WORKING smoke alarms at least in every level of your home and to test it regularly, keeping your home clear of fire hazards
National Fire Safety Week 2023 is jointly run with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services (NIFRS) and the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM). The 2023 campaign will run across radio, TV and social media platforms. National Fire Safety Week marks the beginning of an intensive media advertising campaign that will run through the higher risk period of fire fatality from October 2023 through to Spring 2024.