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Cabinet agrees extra measures to get more homes built more quickly

The Government today agreed extra measures under the Housing for All Plan to make it cheaper to build and refurbish homes, speed up home building and drive down building costs across the board. 


The new measures will build on the momentum that we’re already seeing this year with work starting on a record 7,349 homes in the first three months of 2023. 


The measures comprise: 


  1. Reducing the cost of construction: by scrapping the development levies required to connect new homes with roads, water and other services, and subsidising development levies, saving up to the value of €12,650 per home on average. This will cut the cost of building a home and apply for a limited time only to act as an incentive. 
  2. Increasing the pace at which vacant and derelict properties are renovated for new housing:by beefing up grants to cut the cost of restoring empty homes and making it easier to apply. The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant will be increased from €30,000 to €50,000 for vacant properties and from €50,000 to €70,000 for derelict properties, extended to cover houses built up to 2007, and will be available for properties intended for rental as well as owner-occupied. 
  3. Government financing of the construction of affordable apartments under Cost Rental: to get work started on thousands of affordable apartments to rent which have planning permission but which are not being progressed – again, a substantial subsidy for a limited time only to speed up construction. The Government has agreed to commit up to €750 million via the Land Development Agency and other providers as part of this initiative to complete 4,000 to 6,000 additional affordable apartments under the Cost Rental system. 


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Housing for All is working. At the moment about 400 people are buying their first home every week, which is the highest since the Celtic Tiger. We have the best social housing output since the 1970s. After a slowdown, commencements are bouncing back. And we are likely to meet our overall target again this year. But we need to do more. 


“We know that merely meeting our own targets won’t be enough. We have a huge deficit in housing and we’re playing catch up. Our mission is to restore the social contract and make home ownership affordable for the majority again. When I was re-appointed as Taoiseach, I said that no option will be taken off the table. The Housing Package approved by Cabinet today is about accelerating Housing for All. It flows from the interim advice to Government of the Housing Commission in February and the Housing Summit back in January. 


“We expect these actions will have an immediate impact and increase the number of homes built in the coming years. It should move the dial in terms of those unactivated planning permissions and might be the difference in a young couple taking on a vacant or derelict property, making the best use of our existing housing stock. We have a long way to go, but I am more confident now than ever before we are on the right path.” 


Tánaiste, Micheál Martin said “Housing is this Government’s top priority, and Housing For All is working. Supply of new homes is ultimately the solution. In 2022, we built more social houses than we have in almost half a century, and the number of homes completed last year is up 45% on the year before. 


“We are making record investment available again this year to give more people, and families, secure, and affordable homes, and to boost the construction of new homes at scale.” 


The Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan said: “Last week we published radical proposals to ensure communities gain from land value increases arising from land rezoning. Communities will gain from this uplift in the form of increased housing infrastructure. Taken with implementation of the new Residential Zoned Land Tax, we are addressing land speculation and land hoarding, major sources of land mismanagement. These reforms will help ensure housing gets delivered without unnecessary speculative costs from land mismanagement.’’ 


The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD added: “The greatest security anyone can have is to own the roof over their heads. That is why increasing home ownership is a priority for Government. We’ve introduced a range of major innovations through Housing for All, including the First Home Scheme, which has granted support to 1,336 buyers during its short existence, and the new – and very popular - vacancy grant. We’ve also made a strong start to delivering affordable housing under Housing for All. This year will see more homes delivered for affordable purchase or rent as the pace of delivery quickens.” 


Government has also published the Progress Report on Housing for All for the first three months of 2023, with the year off to a good start and work starting on a record number of homes in the first quarter.   


Progress has also continued across a range of important measures, including continued take-up of the First Homes Scheme, LDA grant of planning permission for over 1,100 homes, additional capacity for An Bord Pleanála and €41million in capital funding approved for student accommodation.  We have seen progress across a number of fundamental reforms in land management and planning, as well as the promotion of innovation in construction.  


There is a strong pipeline of social and affordable housing, with over 19,000 social homes at various stages of construction and over 2,700 more affordable homes already approved for funding.  




Housing For All Achievements in Quarter 1 2023 


Increasing the supply of much-needed homes is at the centre of Housing for All.  During Q1, we have seen the following progress towards this goal: 


Building started on 7,349 homes during Q1 representing a 5% increase on the same quarter last year. 


Promotion of innovation in social home delivery through a pilot programme to deliver 1,500 social homes using MMC.  


Amendments to the CALF funding model will enable AHBs to deliver more social homes across the country.      


From launch of the First HomeScheme through to the end of Q1, 1,336 buyers have been approved by the scheme and have received eligibility certificates to purchase their homes.  3,556 potential buyers have registered their interest in the Scheme, with 1,000 new expressions of interest received in Q1 2023. 82% of all approvals have been for buyers in Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow, with the remaining spread across 19 counties throughout Ireland. 


A further 1,850 Cost Rental homes are to be delivered in 2023, including through the Land Development Agency.  


The LDA is on course to deliver 5,000 homes under the Project Tosaigh Scheme. Homes being delivered under the Scheme include affordable purchase housing in Mallow, Co. Cork and in Waterford and 48 cost rental homes now occupied at Archer’s Wood Delgany and a further 94 advertised, with rents starting from €1,220, significantly below the market rent for the area.  The LDA is also progressing delivery of 247 cost-rental homes in Hansfield in Dublin 15 and 95 in Parklands, Citywest in Dublin. 


Planning Permission granted to the LDA for 1,162 homes for sites at Castlelands, Balbriggan (817) and Hacketstown, Skerries (345). 


Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Scheme: The Housing Agency is now concluding appraisals of projects with the potential to deliver up to 1,750 owner-occupied apartments. Letters of Intent have issued to successful applicants, with a view to entering contracts on conclusion of the last appraisal/due diligence stage. A second call under the Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Scheme is on-track to be issued in Q2 2023. 


An Bord Pleanála Capacity – 59 new posts approved, bringing the total number of new posts since 2021 to 117, an increase of almost 60% in resourcing, to be in place by late 2023. 


Student Accommodation – Government approved €41million in capital funding to enable the development of 405 beds and additional purpose-built student accommodation beds which have planning permission for development on campus at Dublin City University. Engagement is ongoing with UCD, Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork on similar projects. 


Construction Sector Capacity - 1,250 Apprenticeship Registrations, representing an 8% increase on Q1 22. Apprenticeship Certifications increased by 33% on Q1 22. In addition, initiatives are underway to recruit skills internationally and to promote careers in construction domestically. 


Fundamental reform of our planning system to make it more efficient, transparent, easier to use and consistent in decision making. Legislation to reform the planning system has now progressed through pre-legislative scrutiny. The report and its recommendations will be fully considered before the bill proceeds through the Houses of the Oireachtas.  


Views are being sought from the public on the preferred approach towards creating more compact and diverse housing types.  


Legislation has been published which provides for a new Land Value Sharing (LVS) charge of 30% to be ringfenced to ensure local authorities and communities benefit from a fairer share in land value increases arising from State decisions relating to the zoning of land. This represents a response to a challenge identified as far back as the Kenny Report in 1973.  

Legislation has been published for Urban Development Zones,  a new concept which aims to deliver a coordinated and plan-led approach to the delivery of residential and urban development at scale. The UDZs include under-utilised large-scale areas with potential for significant development for housing and other purposes, generally within or near existing communities.  

An analysis has concluded into the availability of land for the delivery of social and affordable homes through to 2030. The analysis highlighted additional land will need to be acquired to deliver 24,000 social homes between now and 2030.  A land acquisition fund has been put in place to support the sector to address this gap.   


Cost of Construction Study & Action Plan – Currently construction costs account for approximately 50% of total delivery costs. To reduce costs, a Residential Construction Cost Study was undertaken to analyse each component of the cost of building houses and apartments. The report and resulting action plan will be brought to Government by the end of April 2023 for consideration. 


Project Tosaigh Phase 2 -LDA commenced a structured pre-tender consultation to advance procurement through aframework panel of house builders. Project Tosaigh will significantly accelerate the supply of homes through unlocking land with full planning permission that is not being developed by private sector owners due to financing and other constraints. 


A review of the operation of the private rental sector is currently underway with a period of public consultation due to commence in April.  


Initial work has commenced on the roadmap to revise the National Planning Framework, with the intention that the proposed approach will be approved by Government for publication in the coming weeks. 


Housing for All 

‘Housing for All’ is the Government’s housing plan for Ireland to 2030. It can be read at The plan’s overall objective is: ‘Everyone in the State should have access to a home to purchase or rent at an affordable price, built to a high standard and in the right place, offering a high quality of life.’  


The Housing for All – Q1 2023 Progress Report and Quarterly Statistics Report can be read here