Generation of Irish workers ‘locked out’ of home ownership, Pearse Doherty says

Pearse Doherty said the report from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) on the cost of delivering apartments in Dublin made for 'grim reading'
Generation of Irish workers ‘locked out’ of home ownership, Pearse Doherty says

Tánaiste and leader of Fine Gael Leo Varadkar acknowledged that the cost of housing in Ireland is “far too high”. Picture: Oireachtas TV/PA

A generation of workers has been locked out of home ownership because of Ireland’s broken housing system, a Sinn Féin TD has said.

Pearse Doherty said the report from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) on the cost of delivering apartments in Dublin made for “grim reading”.

The report, released earlier this week, revealed the cost of delivering a two-bed apartment costs around 359,000 euro for a low-rise in the suburbs, rising to 619,000 euro for a high-rise unit in the city centre.

Mr Doherty said that a working couple would need a deposit of 36,000 euro and have a gross income of over 90,000 euro, to buy the cheapest apartment in the report.

“The cheapest apartments in Dublin City Centre was a staggering 439,000 euro – to buy that property, the couple would need a deposit of 44,000 euro and a gross salary of 112,000 euro,” Mr Doherty added.

“These prices are beyond the reach of the vast majority of workers and families in the State.

“Under the watch of Fine Gael in Government the price of homes has risen so high that working people on good incomes can no longer afford to buy their own home.

“An entire generation of workers have been locked out of home ownership.

That is why 70% of the apartments outlined in the Chartered Surveyors’ report are not even for sale.

“They’re being developed on a belt to rent market, snapped up by institutional investors, vulture funds or so-called cuckoo funds, who are exploiting the scarcity of housing to turn over massive profits.

"The rents they charge are excessive and a disgrace.

“If ever there was proof of how broken your housing system is, then this is it.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged that the cost of housing in Ireland is “far too high”.

“Particularly for those who want to buy their first home,” he added.

“That’s particularly so in the cities, and that is particularly so in central Dublin.”

Mr Varadkar then went on to accuse Sinn Féin of being for tackling the housing crisis in principle but against it in practice.

He claimed the party’s record on social housing in the Republic’s local authorities and in Northern Ireland was “very poor”.

Mr Varadkar said that former minister for housing Eoghan Murphy added 6,000 units to the country’s social housing stock in 2019.

“North of the border, where Sinn Féin is in government and has been in government for 13 years of the last 20 years, provided much less social housing on a per capita basis,” he told the Dail.

“Sinn Féin provided less social housing that Eoghan Murphy did in 2019, that is your record and that is a verifiable fact.

“When it comes to private housing, we need to build more of that because people need homes to buy because people want to own their own home in Ireland.”

He also accused Sinn Féin councillors of voting against zoning land for housing, housing developments and mixed housing.

Mr Varadkar also said that rent pressure zones have not brought rents down.

He added: “They’ve been successful in slowing rent inflation, making sure that in many parts of the country the maximum rent increase is 4%, in many cases is much lower than that.”

However, Mr Doherty denied that his party has opposed any social or affordable housing developments in Dublin.

“Seriously Tánaiste , what planet are you living on?

“Seriously, it’s time for you to get your head out of the sand,” he added.

You’ve been in government for 10 years, you’ve been a taoiseach for a period of that time, yet you try to blame everybody else for a part of this issue, but it doesn’t wash.

“The reality is, this is your housing crisis, the reality is it costs 439,000 euro to buy the cheapest apartment in Dublin city under your government.”

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