Call for national housing authority

A report commissioned by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland wants increased government support for developers and builders of new homes in order to improve the national housing stock.

It also wants local authorities banned from imposing more restrictive planning requirements than the national standards.

“While, politically, it is seen as more attractive to award purchasers’ grants or tax concessions than to support developers or builders, we would argue that a new approach or new deal is now clearly required,” said SCSI president Andrew Nugent.

His comments came at the launch of the report, ‘Policy Options for Supporting the Provision of Housing at Affordable Prices,’ by Tony Foley of Dublin City University. It calls for the establishment of a national housing authority to co-ordinate housing policy and strategy.

“The housing market has long lacked official national co-ordination,” Mr Foley said. “The housing authority would provide this missing link and ensure that plans are acted on.”

According to his report, the provision of housing for lower-income groups, first-time buyers, and single-adult households is not commercially viable.

To combat this, he recommends a reduction in Vat from 13.5% to 9% on new housing units up to a selling price of €300,000 for a period of three years.

Mr Nugent said the housing situation would deteriorate further unless decisive action was taken on the supply side, particularly for lower priced units.

“We estimate the cost of an average newly built three-bedroom house in north Dublin including profit margin to be €339,000, but the actual price is about €280,000.”

“Therefore it’s clear that building this house type is just not sustainable at present,” he said.

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