The government has agreed on a number of 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 cabinet has signed off on three measures at a cost of €1bn, which are aimed at encouraging the construction of homes in the near term.
These include a 12-month exemption on development levies for new homes; a subvention of up to €150,000 on the cost of constructing cost-rental units, and a €20,000 increase in grants available under the Croi Conaithe scheme to help renovate vacant and derelict homes.
Infrastructure fees waiver
For a 12-month period, developers and builders will not have to pay development levies to build houses and apartments required to connect new homes with roads, water and other services.
The levies are used to connect new homes with roads, water and other services, such as footpaths. The government estimates this will save an average of €12,650 on the cost of building a new home.
This measure comes at a cost of €380m, and builders can only avail of the waived fees if they begin projects this year and finish them by 2025. Government officials hope this supply measure will send a message to the construction industry to activate building permissions.
Cost Rental Apartments
The government hopes to build between an extra 4,000 to 6,000 apartments under a major €750m subsidy, which will be administered through the Land Development Agency (LDA) and other providers as part of this initiative to complete additional affordable apartments under the Cost Rental system.
The subsidy will see a payment of up to €150,000 per apartment to builders of cost-rental apartments. These homes are delivered by approved housing bodies (AHBs), local authorities and the LDA.
Increased grants for vacant properties
The government has also agreed to increase the value of grants for renovating vacant and derelict homes. The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant will be increased from €30,000 to €50,000 for vacant properties and from €50,000 to €70,000 for derelict properties, extended to cover houses built up to 2007, and will be available for properties intended for rental as well as owner-occupied.
Speaking at the announcement of the measures, 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.”
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, said, “The greatest security anyone can have is to own the roof over their heads. That is why increasing home ownership is a priority for the 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.”
Housing for All Progress Report
The government has also published a 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 €41m in capital funding approved for student accommodation.
The report states that 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.