Words: Dylan Murphy
A new report from Social Justice Ireland has revealed that an increasing proportion of new housing was bought by “non-household” entities.
The National Social Monitor has found that in the years 2010-2019 the proportion of newly built homes purchased by institutions has increased from 5.6 per cent to 32.9 per cent.
The report by think tank Social Justice Ireland noted that households were being priced out of the housing market by “non-household” and private bodies and questioned the government’s ability to deliver affordable homes.
Additionally, the report highlighted that the average price of homes being bought by institutions and private bodies increased from €229,627 to €304,811 in the years 2016 to 2019.
The average price of homes being bought by institutions also increased dramatically in the years between 2016 and 2019, from €229,627 to €304,811.
Speaking on the report, Collette Bennett, an economic and social analyst with SJI, said, “We cannot hope to deliver affordable housing for all if households are competing with institutions in the market.”
Despite commitments in the Programme for Government to increase the houses being constructed and made available to people, the report noted that “An increasing proportion of newly built homes were bought by ‘non-household’ entities.”
“In 2010, the proportion of new homes purchased by non-household entities was 5.6%.”
“By the end of the year 2016, the year Rebuilding Ireland was published, this had increased to 21.8%, increasing again to 32.9% in 2019.”
The report also criticised the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), noting that it gives the impression that social housing waiting lists are shorter than they are in reality.
“In September 2014, the then Government introduced the Housing Assistance Payment as a long-term social housing solution, similar to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).
“As such, households in receipt of HAP or RAS are not included in the data on social housing waiting lists.
“The impact of HAP can be seen when we consider that the real number of households in need of social housing has increased by 33% since 2016, when the data reported 90,600 households.
“The latest housing waiting list data shows just 61,880 households at the end of 2020, however, the perceived reduction is due in part to the transfer of 14,655 from rent supplement to HAP between 2016 and 2020, and a further 4,857 transfers from the rent supplement to the RAS in the same period.”
Meanwhile, Social Justice Ireland issued its own ten point plan to deliver affordable housing. It consists of calling on a 3.3 billion euro annual investment to ensure that 14,341 social homes are provided over the next ten years. Additionally, it calls for a ban on the sale of State lands suitable for residential development, with suitable land used to build social housing.
Moreover, in the report they have urged the government to close all tax loopholes for large-scale investment vehicles purchasing residential properties. SJI also said that new legislation should also be introduced to increase tenant protections.
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