Delivering on commitments made in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy T.D., today (6 August 2019) announced funding approval for 25 infrastructure projects across 13 local authority areas. This significant funding commitment of €84 million will support the delivery of 1,770 affordable homes for purchase. This announcement, confirming the 2nd round of approvals and funding under the Serviced Sites Fund, means that, to date, funding support has been allocated to enable delivery of almost 3,200 affordable homes for purchase under the scheme.
Minister Murphy said; “We’ve seen recently that house prices have been cooling down, even falling in some parts of the country as supply increases. But for too many people home ownership still remains out of reach. Unless the government steps in to bridge the gap, young couples and workers may not be able to afford to buy their own home in our cities and large towns. That’s why we are using local authority land to build more affordable homes for young workers and couples, and that’s why these approvals announced today are so important. The market will not fix our housing problems alone, the government must lead on providing more affordable homes.”
The Serviced Sites Fund, which has a total of €310 million available support local authorities out to 2021, was established to provide key facilitating infrastructure, on public lands, to support the delivery of affordable homes to purchase or rent. The projects announced today will also service sites providing infrastructure that has the potential to support the development of over 1,100 social housing homes where local authorities are bringing forward these sites forward as part of mixed tenure developments.
In making this announcement, Minister Murphy commended local authorities for their engagement under this 2nd Call for Proposals, stating the process had been “impressive both in terms of the ambition and scope of proposals submitted, and in terms of local authorities’ willingness to put their own resources to work to play their part in delivering affordable homes”. The Minister went on to say that “Together with other complementary and targeted affordability measures under Rebuilding Ireland, the delivery of these affordable homes will have a really positive impact on the availability of affordable housing. This is about providing homes for all: creating new and attractive communities to live in, where the demand is greatest, and delivering at affordable prices and rents.”
The homes that will be delivered via this funding support, will be made available for affordable purchase under the provisions of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009 which the Minister enacted in 2018, the operational provisions of which are currently being developed. Alternatively, SSF funding is also being made available to support innovative delivery of homes for rent under a ‘Cost Rental’ model which it is anticipated will deliver rental options at rates significantly below market levels.
The Minister closed in saying “Housing, and in particular affordable housing, is one of the critical challenges facing our country. That is why I sought and achieved a trebling of the Serviced Sites Fund in last year’s Budget, to provide €310 million to get local authority sites up and running to deliver at least 6,200 affordable homes, working towards a programme of 10,000, where they are most needed. My Department will now work with local authorities to develop these proposals and bring the plans to fruition.”