I have called on the Government to put in place a long term strategy for the Help to Buy Scheme with inbuilt targets so that buyers and developers have a clear view on the timeline of the scheme and can plan accordingly.
“The build to sell market for apartments in this country is dysfunctional as one-off first-time buyers are having difficulty in providing their repayment capacity coupled with the increase in the cost of building homes”.
The SCSI Report on the real cost of building apartments also highlights the fact that the lack of water and sewerage infrastructure coupled with delays in the planning process are adding to the costs.
“Court challenges to planning applications are also increasing and this is borne out by reports that high court challenges against An Bord Pleanála rose by 51% in 2019. There were 83 challenges in 2019 compared with 41 challenges in 2018”.
“Another recommendation of the SCSI Report is to promote and provide financial support to first time buyers to purchase homes and apartments in urban setting in our towns and cities. Only 17% of space over ground floor retail is occupied in Dublin city. There is potential to develop living accommodation in these towns and cities in the interest of rejuvenating town centres and creating a sustainable environment”.
“Presently there is too much reliance on the Build to Let market and this can be measured by the volume of apartment development being purchased by pension and investment funds”.
“We also see the reliance by Government on the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) to provide accommodation where over €1.2 billion has been spent to-date”.
“We are at a crossroads with the planning process, investment in Irish Water and the issue of affordability and now is the time to reform the planning process and reboot the first-time buyer’s market”.