Up to half of new housing estates could be reserved for owner-occupiers

The measure is seen in Government as a major curbing of the influence of cuckoo funds, which have purchased large swathes of developments across the country in recent years
Up to half of new housing estates could be reserved for owner-occupiers

Those wishing to purchase a family home could have sections of new estates reserved for them under plans to tackle mass purchases by cuckoo funds being considered by the Government. File picture

Those wishing to purchase a family home have 50% of new estates reserved for them under plans to tackle mass purchases by cuckoo funds being considered by the Government.

Under the plans, up to half of new estates could be reserved for owner-occupiers if councils decide the measure is needed.

The plans, announced tonight by Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, also include a rise in stamp duty paid on bulk purchases of homes from 1% to 10% from the tenth home purchased.

However, the rules will not apply to apartments and will focus on owner-occupiers of houses and duplexes instead. Mr Donohoe said that this was being done to avoid negative consequences on the supply of apartments.

It is understood that the Green Party's ministers - Eamon Ryan, Catherine Martin and Roderic O'Gorman - raised issue with the exclusion of apartments and the effect it would have on cities and people aready living in apartments. However, Mr O'Brien said that the decision made was a whole of government one.

The opposition, too, has been swift in its criticisms.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin O Broin called the move "a cop out", while Labour's Rebecca Moynihan said that without a tax on vacant homes, little would change.

"This decision won’t stop bulk selling of apartments for older people who might want to downsize to an apartment. Apartment dwellers and single people also deserve the right to affordable housing and to own their own home, but this section of society is continuously ignored and failed by successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil housing policy.

“In my area, Hines have permission for 1,400 units, none of which will be available to buy, and that won’t be impacted by today’s decision. People who want to live in a vibrant urban community will just be pushed out as estimated rents for these €1,350 for studio and €2,800 3 bed.

“The failure to implement a vacant homes tax is such a wasted opportunity. If you walk around most cities in the country, there are many empty apartment complexes with plastic still on the mattresses. 

'It’s a shocking sight given the depth of our housing crisis that there is supply out there, but it is totally unaffordable and unattainable for those who need it most. The thousands of vacant homes across the country can be accessed quickly to help alleviate the housing crisis."

Social Democrats housing spokesperson Cian O'Callaghan said that the rules would not work.

"The measures announced by the Government this evening are weak and won’t work. Once again, the Government is putting the interests of investment funds ahead of those who want to own their own home.

“The Government’s proposed changes to planning laws will take a number of years to kick in. In the meantime, the vulture funds will feast on the homes already approved and the cuckoo funds will continue to knock first-time buyers from their nest. This is unacceptable.

“People want immediate action. Not another can kicked down the road."

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