Range Of Affordable Housing Schemes Needed - FG

A range of affordable housing schemes are needed to help families, couples and individuals get on the property ladder at a fair and realistic cost, Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey has said.

The Dun Laoghaire TD stated she wants to see a broad range of options in the rental and purchase sector provided to first time buyers by the government under a new scheme to be delivered on State owned and private lands.

Deputy Bailey said: "Nationwide, there are over 700 State owned sites that have been identified and can be used for future homes. Some may require additional infrastructure to service the site. There are two key elements to my proposal: 'Affordable Purchase' and 'Affordable Rent to Buy'."

Deputy Bailey, who serves as Chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee, said that she fully understands the difficulties for families and first time buyers looking to secure their first home, and that she believes that in order to fulfil demand, 'Affordable Housing' schemes must be delivered by Government working with local authorities.

She continued: "In terms of 'Affordable Purchase', homes can be delivered on State owned land thus reducing the cost of build through public-private partnerships or direct build as part of mixed tenure where appropriate. Local authorities would establish a scheme tailored for their area. People would apply to their council once they qualify through their income level which I would expect to be determined by Government.

"With 'Affordable Rent to Buy', where rent from a home has been collected over a certain period of time by the local authority from council properties, the option would be in place to purchase homes under 'Rent to Buy' criteria for successful applicants. A credit would be applied for the rent paid to date and reduced from the overall sale price. The balance is then repayable by mortgage which is provided by a financial institution.

"There is already a scheme similar to this in Shanganagh Castle in Shankill, Dublin 18. It was brought forward by Cllr John Bailey, Chair of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Housing SPC, Cllr Michael Merrigan and Cllr Shane O'Brien and is currently out on a feasibility study. In this scheme, there will be approximately 200 social homes and apartments and 340 affordable homes (200 affordable homes and 140 rent to buy). Such a scheme could be replicated in various sizes on State owned land where there is a demand."

Ahead of a Housing Summit to be held later this month, Deputy Bailey said tangible progress is being made to provide homes nationwide and affordable homes are the next logical step to a sustainable housing market.


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