- 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.