The government has published its first annual Housing for All update, which states its 24,600 new homes target for 2022 will be exceeded.
According to the government’s first annual Housing for All plan update, the supply of new homes is increasing, with 20,807 new homes completed in the first three quarters of the year, more than the whole of 2021 (20,560) or any other year since the CSO series began in 2011, and the government is confident that the 2022 Housing for All target of 24,600 new homes will be exceeded.
The Housing for All plan update continues by stating that homes are being provided in the right places, in line with its compact growth objectives, which “are aimed at building sustainable and vibrant communities across the country”.
It notes that apartment completions in Q3 2022 increased by over 153% from the same quarter last year, and close to half of the new homes completed in the quarter were part of a multi-home development. Despite the impact of cost inflation and the war in Ukraine, there continues to be a strong pipeline, with building started on almost 21,000 new homes between the months of January and September 2022 and planning permissions granted for 19,837 homes during the first half of the year.
Housing for All plan update
The government has introduced a range of affordable purchase and rental measures and legislated for long-term reforms of the housing and planning systems. The Housing for All plan update outlines the following measures and initiatives introduced since the plan was announced:
- The First Home Scheme was introduced in July 2022 to make it easier for first-time buyers to afford a new home. Since its introduction, over 800 applications have been received, with 606 approvals issued to date
- The Local Authority Home Loan enables successful applicants to borrow up to 90% of the market value of the property
- Delivery of cost rental homes with state-backed rents at least 25% below what they would be on the private market. In 2023, a further 1,850 cost rental homes are to be delivered • An extension of the Help to Buy scheme to the end of 2024.
- The delivery of 9,183 social homes in 2021
- A new Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Fund to address the financial gap between the construction cost and market price for apartments, designed to deliver 5,000 apartments in our city centres
- The introduction of a Ready to Build scheme, funded through the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund
- A new Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant
- A new Town Centre First policy that includes initiatives to revitalise towns
- Changes to the Fair Deal scheme to remove disincentives to renting or selling vacant property
- Establishment of a new Construction Technology Centre and other policies to promote the widespread adoption of modern methods of construction (MMC)
- Construction sector recruitment initiatives, including the new ‘Future Building’ initiative to spearhead activation and recruitment and additional investment to increase the availability of apprenticeships and training
- The LDA’s Project Tosaigh Scheme, aimed at accelerating the delivery of homes on sites with full planning permission which would not otherwise be developed due to financing or other constraints.
The government acknowledges that there are challenges in the housing market, and it is working to address them. In the year since the publication of Housing for All, there have been unprecedented difficulties arising from the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and rising interest rates. The updated plan sets out how the government is responding to these changed circumstances and ensuring the focus remains on the delivery of homes at scale and speed to resolve the crisis. It includes new and updated measures intended to:
- Reduce the cost of construction
- Make the planning system more transparent and user-friendly
- Improve the rental market
- Increase student accommodation
- Deliver more social and affordable homes on state lands
- Revitalise towns and villages
- Boost productivity through accelerating the adoption of MMC
- Expand the construction sector labour force.
A comprehensive plan
Commenting on the publication of the updated Housing for All Action Plan, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said, “Housing for All provides a comprehensive plan which is working. We are building and delivering increasing numbers of new homes, while fundamentally reforming our system of housing.
“Despite the unprecedented challenges arising from the war in Ukraine, we will exceed the target to deliver 24,600 new homes in 2022. And we have now set out an updated set of actions across multiple departments and agencies to build on the progress to date.”
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “This government believes in home ownership. Our absolute focus is on increasing the supply of new homes as quickly as possible so that this generation has the opportunity to buy or rent at more affordable prices.”