Fianna Fáil: Government on side of ‘cuckoo funds’

The Opposition has accused the Government of contributing to the housing crisis by being on the side of so-called cuckoo funds.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary criticised the Government for offering tax incentives to such funds, which have been buying entire blocks of apartments to rent them out.

The corporate investors have been blamed for pushing up rental prices and squeezing first-time buyers out of the market.

“It’s pretty clear that Fine Gael are on the side of the cuckoos in relation to this one,” Mr Calleary told the Dáil.

He said cuckoo funds had purchased more than 3,000 units in 2018, with the benefit of Government tax incentives.

Do the Government have any plans to review and restrict the taxation incentives that are available to these funds to use their corporate muscle to elbow out people who want to get a start on the housing market?

Mr Calleary added that these much-needed housing units were being snapped up before hard-working families had a chance to buy them.

“There’s not enough affordable housing being built, there’s not enough local authority housing being built, yet where housing is being built, these funds are swooping in with your encouragement to take these away from people who actually want to get on the housing ladder,” he said.

“Is it not time to shout stop?” he asked.

“Do the Government have any plans to review and restrict the taxation incentives that are available to these funds to use their corporate muscle to elbow out people who want to get a start on the housing market?”

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the Government was “absolutely committed” to increasing supply of all types of homes.

He said institutional landlords represented a very small minority of the overall number of landlords, despite institutional investment in the private rental sector growing.

“Less than 5% of landlords own over 100 units,” Mr Coveney said.

“The vast majority of landlords, just over 70%, own just one property.”

Institutional investment firms accounted for 1% of all property sales in 2017, he added.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said cuckoo funds were pushing up house prices and squeezing first-time buyers out of the market.

He said in most cases these funds did not pay corporation tax, income tax or capital gains tax.

- Press Association

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