Social housing construction failed to meet target in 2019

Social housing construction failed to meet target in 2019

Social housing construction fell short of its target again last year.

Local councils, housing non-profits and private builders were supposed to finish 6,242 homes for people on the housing list.

But only 5,771 were completed.

The Department of Housing says the aim of adding 10,000 homes to the social housing stock nationally last year was reached by buying more properties on the open market.

Lorcan Sirr, lecturer in housing policy at the Technological University of Dublin, says the numbers are not much of a success.

"As always with the Department of Housing and these housing statistics, you have to go into Sherlock Holmes mode to unpick exactly what they are saying because they don't present it in the clearest of ways," said Mr Sirr.

"Local Authority builds which is arguably the most important is only up about 10% on the previous year which isn't really impressive.

"Also what we have to remember is that under the heading of 'new build' they also include what are called 'turnkey' which are actually acquisitions."

Mr Sirr said the government has been far too dependent on the private market and should change direction this year.

"There is a great opportunity here for the State to start doing what it used to do so well which was directly building houses themselves through directly contracted people.

"The big thing is there is a great opportunity also for Local Authorities through housebuilding to lead the restart of the economy through getting particulary small and medium building enterprises out there building houses on behalf of the councils and the State."

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