Rent for a one-bed apartment in Cork City’s first cost-rental apartment scheme will be close to €1,000 a month — beyond the reach of many it’s supposed to help, a TD has warned.
Furthermore, the sale price of some four-bed affordable purchase housing units which are under construction in the city will top €300,000, a price that risks excluding those who need the help most.
Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould wants a review of the Government’s “affordability” criteria on both housing types to ensure the schemes benefit people caught in the rental trap.
“These rates are just not affordable for those they are meant to help. Affordability should be based on a person’s income and on their ability to pay — not on the market value of rent or houses in Ireland today,” he said.
He was responding to data released in response to a parliamentary question about the expected cost of an affordable housing unit in the city, and for details on the number of cost-rental units that are due to be delivered soon.
In his reply, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said the Government’s Housing for All strategy has set an ambitious target of delivering 300,000 homes over the next decade for social, affordable and cost rental, private rental, and private ownership housing.
It includes 36,000 affordable purchase and 18,000 cost rental homes to be delivered by 2030 by local authorities, approved housing bodies (AHBs), the Land Development Agency (LDA), and through the ‘First Home’ Scheme — a strategic partnership between the state and retail banks.
A total of 10,000 cost rental homes are due to be delivered by 2026, with around 150 to be delivered in Cork City through four schemes by 2023.
Some 73 of those cost rental homes are due for delivery by the Clúid AHB at Lancaster Gate later this year, where rent for a one-bed unit will be €990 per month and €1,100 per month for a two-bed unit.
“The cost-covering rents for these apartments will be at least 32% below comparable open-market prices in the area,” the Minister said.
But Mr Gould said rents are soaring and basing affordability on rising rents is counterproductive.
“For many people, that could mean spending up to 60% of their income on rent, when it’s suggested that people should not have to pay more than one-third. To call something affordable, it truly needs to be affordable for working people,” he said.
The minister also gave details on the affordable housing scheme built by Cork City Council in Boherboy, Mayfield, where 22 two- and three-bedroom homes will be delivered at a purchase price of €218,000 to €243,000, with another 15 units due for completion by year end.
The council also plans to deliver 36 affordable purchase homes in Cluain Chaoin, Tower in two phases this year, with indicated prices of €237,000 for a two-bed, €275,000 for a three-bed, and €300,000 for a four-bed home.
The minister also said he expects a significant proportion of first home shared equity scheme homes to be located in Cork and he pointed out that the LDA has planning for 265 social and affordable homes at the former HSE site at St Kevin’s Hospital in Shanakiel.
But Mr Gould said the first homes on this site are not expected until the end of 2023 or early 2024.
“There is a desperate need for more urgency around housing delivery,” he said.
“I am dealing with 30 families who have been served with notices to quit, and who are facing eviction by October.”