McGrath: Sinn Féin's housing policies would 'drive more landlords out of market'

Public expenditure minister hits back at Mary Lou McDonald's criticism of Government
McGrath: Sinn Féin's housing policies would 'drive more landlords out of market'

Mary Lou McDonald claimed the Government had 'fairytales' about how to tackle the housing crisis. Picture: Leah Farrell/

Sinn Féin’s housing policies would further drive landlords out of the market, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath has claimed.

Mr McGrath has hit back at the Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald who said the Government comes into the Dáil with “fairytales” about tackling the housing crisis when their policies are “driving an entire generation of young people from here to Perth, Sydney, Toronto, and beyond”.

She called for the Government to introduce a ban on rent increases and a refundable tax credit for renters worth a month’s rent.

In response, Mr McGrath said the Government has introduced a rent increase cap of 2%, announced tax credits for renters in the budget, as well as an eviction ban which is to stay in place until the end of March.

He said Sinn Féin’s housing policies, which include increasing income tax for landlords, would result in a further lack of housing supply for renters.

He told the Dáil that, at a time when the State needs to increase the supply of rental accommodation as well as retain existing investment in the market, Sinn Féin’s measures would “further drive landlords out of the market and you need to be honest about that".

Focus on increasing supply

Mr McGrath said the reason there is such a high level of growth in new rental prices is because of the mismatch of supply and demand and that’s why the Government’s “core focus” is on increasing the supply of housing.

Opposition leaders challenged the Government during Leaders’ Questions following the latest Housing Market Monitor published by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland revealed

The average rent in Ireland has increased by 85% compared to the EU average of 18% between 2010 and the second quarter of 2022.

Co-leader of the Social Democrats Roisin Shortall slammed the Government’s new vacant homes tax (VHT) stating the rate it is set at, 0.3% will not incentivise people to bring vacant homes back to the market and called for it to be increased.

She said house prices increased by 10.8% in the past year and said a home worth €400,000 would see the homeowner charged €1,215 per annum with the VHT but the value of the home would increase by €42,300 in the same time period.

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