Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD; and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD today launched Housing for All - a New Housing Plan for Ireland.
Housing for All is the Government’s plan to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade. The plan provides for an optimal mix of social, affordable and private housing for sale and rent. These measures are supported by over €4 billion in guaranteed State funding every year, the highest ever level of Government investment in building social and affordable housing. The plan also includes measures to support availability of the land, workforce, funding and capacity to enable both the public and private sectors to meet the targets.
The plan is based on four pathways, leading to a more sustainable housing system:
- Support home ownership and increase affordability
- Eradicate homelessness, increase social housing delivery and support social inclusion.
- Increase new housing supply
- Address vacancy and make efficient use of existing stock
Among the plan’s main initiatives are:
- The largest ever social housing build programme – over 90,000 social homes by the end of 2030, including an average new-build component of over 9,500 social homes by the end of 2030.
- 300,000 homes built over the next decade across the four categories of social, affordable and cost rental, private rental and private ownership. On average, over 33,000 homes will be built per annum, rising to 40,000 by 2030.
- 54,000 affordable homes between now and 2030 with yearly targets for the provision of affordable Housing for the first time ever – 2,000 ‘Cost Rental’ homes and 4,000 local authority Affordable Purchase Homes will be provided, on average, each year.
- Measures to stimulate supply and address acute viability challenges in urban areas, including the provision of up to 5,000 Cost Rental and affordable units through Project Tosaigh, The new Croí Conaithe (Cities) Fund aims to ensure new apartments will be developed for sale to individual households at a lower cost.
- Focus on new builds to provide social homes, with the ending of long-term social housing leasing arrangements through the phasing out of new entrants.
- Focus on those with a history of rough sleeping or long-term use of emergency accommodation and with complex needs through 1,200 new Housing First tenancies over the next five years.
- Delivery of up to 15,000 residential units, which will help to revitalise urban centres, through the provision of State land to the Land Development Agency.
- An expansion in access to affordable homes to buy, through an enhanced Local Authority Home Loan Scheme, which will have an increased income ceiling for single people of €65,000 and lower loan interest rates
- ‘Land Value Sharing’ measures will be introduced to ensure that an appropriate level of the increase in the value of development land, which results from zoning for residential development, is shared by the State. This value will be used to provide necessary local infrastructure and social and affordable housing, to support residential development and for the benefit of the community.
- Measures to use vacant lands for residential housing will be introduced, such as a new tax to replace the existing Vacant Site Levy.
- Measures to reduce construction costs and support innovation in residential construction will be introduced
- Local authorities to purchase and resell up to 2,500 vacant properties in their areas.
- Further reforms to improve protections for people renting
- New Planning arrangements for Large-Scale Residential Developments as well as broader reforms to the planning process to ensure certainty and stability and reduce delays.
Speaking at the launch this afternoon, the Taoiseach said: “Many people are struggling to access housing, whether they are trying to buy or rent. Few things are more fundamental to us than having somewhere to live. Through this policy the Government is demonstrating its commitment to build the required amount of housing, of different tenures, to a high standard, and in the right location, for people of all circumstances. Today we are announcing the most ambitious programme of social and affordable housing delivery in the history of the State, with 90,000 social homes and 54,000 affordable homes to be provided by the end of 2030. We will also continue to support our most vulnerable by significantly increasing the number of tenancies for those experiencing homelessness and who have more complex needs. Housing for All will provide the basis for a long-term sustainable housing system for this and future generations. .”
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD said:
“Before the pandemic, we were building 20,000 new homes per year and were expecting that to rise to 25,000 in 2020 and 30,000 this year. Housing for All will bring us to at least 33,000.
“We all know construction costs are too high in Ireland and that this ultimately affects the price of homes. High costs also damage our economic competitiveness. We need to strengthen the residential construction supply chain and modernise construction methods. Housing for All will enhance productivity and innovation in construction to overcome the challenges that exist.”
The Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, emphasised the importance of environmental sustainability in our planning and housing decisions. “Sustainability will be at the heart of future development, including housing. That’s why this policy emphasises compact growth, with future housing to be primarily based in settlements. Higher population densities will have upshots such as minimal transport demand and shorter travel distances. Initiatives such as Urban Development Zones will result in plan-led delivery of residential and urban development. These will also support compact growth. The retrofitting of 36,500 local authority-owned properties and the introduction of minimum BERs for rental properties will help move our existing housing stock to a low-carbon future. This will assist with delivering on our national retrofit targets. Moreover, the focus on the circular economy, waste reduction and keeping materials in use throughout the construction process will reduce resource consumption, while also delivering cost reductions.”
Commenting on the plan, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said: “Today we are launching a plan that will see a radical shift towards more affordable homeownership and secure renting. Our measures for affordable purchase, which include significant State investment, will provide opportunities for those who are losing all hope of ever owning their own home. Our changes to the rental sector, including the supply of 2,000 ‘Cost Rental’ homes, on average, every year, and new protections will make renting more affordable and secure for many.
‘The planning changes we are announcing today, including the concept of the State sharing in the increase in value of land zoned for housing, mark a radical departure in how land earmarked for housing is managed, in line with the aspirations of the Kenny Report of several decades ago.”
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, also welcomed today’s publication: “Today the Government has shown its financial commitment to the delivery of social and affordable housing. Social housing is a critical element of Ireland’s housing mix, providing housing security for those who need it most. Through the National Development Plan the Government is committed to investing €12 billion in social and affordable housing measures between 2021 and 2025, making homes more affordable for rent or purchase.”
The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, highlighted the role of taxation in ‘Housing for All’: “Tax reforms will play an important role in increasing housing supply at a time when many sites could deliver much needed residential developments. The new tax to activate vacant land should incentivise greater development. Data on vacancy levels will inform our work on introducing a new Vacant Property Tax so that empty properties are brought back into productive use.”
The Minister for Justice, Social Protection, Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, emphasised the potential for rural Ireland in ‘Housing for All’: “Ireland’s housing challenges relate to rural Ireland as well as urban Ireland. As we emerge from the pandemic we have the chance to re-energise our rural towns and villages through opportunities like remote working. Rural towns and villages will need adequate, high-quality housing if more people are to live and work in them.
“The forthcoming Town Centres First policy will give a new focus to regenerating town centres and promote residential occupancy in our rural towns and villages. The new Croí Conaithe (Towns) Fund initiative of providing serviced sites for housing in small towns and villages will also help revitalise rural Ireland.”
Notes to editor
- ‘Housing for All’ is the Government’s housing plan for Ireland to 2030. It can be read at www.gov.ie/housingforall. 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.’
- ‘Housing for All’ contains four pathways:
- Pathway to Supporting Homeownership and Increasing Affordability
- Pathway to Eradicating Homelessness, Increasing Social Housing Delivery and Supporting Social Inclusion
- Pathway to Increasing New Housing Supply
- Pathways to Addressing Vacancy and Efficient Use of Existing Stock
These four pathways are underpinned by a range of actions to enable a sustainable housing system.
- ‘Housing for All’ contains the following targets and commitments:
- 33,000 new units, on average, per annum up to and including 2030. This will include, on average, 10,000 social housing units, 4,000 homes for Affordable Purchase, 2,000 Cost Rental homes and 17,000 private homes.
- Over the lifetime of the plan (to the end of 2030) the 300,000 required homes are expected to consist of: 90,000 social homes; 36,000 Affordable Purchase homes, 18,000 ‘Cost Rental’ homes and approximately 156,000 private homes.
- The State land bank will provide land to bring forward up to 15,000 units and the State will fund local authorities for land acquisition. Each local authority has been given Housing Supply Targets.
- A table of yearly targets, broken down by tenure type, is contained in the plan.
90,000 new social housing units will be provided by the end of 2030. Delivery of new social housing (and affordable homes measures) will be backed up by €12 billion in NDP funding over five years. The local authorities will cease leasing properties for social housing, moving exclusively to direct build.
Affordable housing for purchase:
The purchase of affordable homes will be made easier through three schemes:
- A new, nationally available, Affordable Purchase shared-equity ‘First Home’ scheme for buyers of new build homes in private developments.
- A new Local Authority-led Affordable Purchase Scheme
- Launch of an expanded Local Authority Home Loan
More affordable rental accommodation and greater protections for renters:
- An average of 2,000 new ‘Cost Rental’ homes will be supplied every year. These rental properties will have rent targets of at least 25% below market level or lower.
- A rent restriction will be in place until 2024 through rent increase ceilings in Rent Pressure Zones being linked to the Harmonised Index of Consumer Price (HICP)
- There will be new short-term lettings regulation through a Fáilte Ireland registration system.
- Indefinite tenancies will be introduced to strengthen security for renters.
- Minimum BER standards will be introduced for rental dwellings. Supports for those experiencing homelessness:
- Through an updated ‘Housing First Implementation Plan’, the Government will provide 1,200 tenancies over the next five years for people with a history of rough sleeping or long-term use of emergency accommodation and with complex needs.
- The Government will continue to increase access to health supports and protections for homeless individuals. An individual health care plan will be provided for all homeless individuals that need one. Access to mental health services will be improved.
- Family support and prevention and early intervention services for children and their families will be enhanced through a multiagency and coordinated response. Innovative practice will be disseminated.
- A model of health care for people experiencing homelessness will be finalised. It will include a health/vulnerability assessment tool to assist in determining suitability for ‘Housing First’ and the level of support needed
- Integrated care pathways, based on an inclusion health model, for people who are homeless with chronic health needs, will be strengthened. This will achieve better health outcomes and reduce the incidence of premature death.
- A Youth Homelessness Strategy will be developed
- A National Homeless Action Committee will be established. Planning changes to boost housing supply:
- Introduction of new land management ‘Land Value Sharing’ measures. Through these measures the State will share in any land value uplift arising from State decisions on land re-zoning for residential use, with the proportion secured by the State used to fund the necessary infrastructure to support development and, where appropriate, deliver additional social and affordable housing.
- The contributions by developers to social and affordable housing on developments will increase from 10% to 20%.
- Urban Development Zones will be established. These will be areas designated for residential and urban development, designed with a coordinated, plan-led approach and early community say in design.
- A new planning process for large-scale residential developments will replace the Strategic Housing Development process.
- The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will overhaul and simplify planning legislation to ensure certainty and stability. It will review the planning code with the Office of the Attorney General. The review will be completed by December 2022.
- The Department will also review the Judicial Review process relating to the planning system, to reduce planning delays.
Measures to address vacancy and existing use of housing stock
- New controls on short-term lettings will be introduced.
- A new tax to activate vacant lands for residential housing will be introduced, replacing the existing Vacant Site Levy
- The ‘Fair Deal’ Scheme for people in long-term residential care will be reformed to enable applicants rent or sell their property without sanction. Contributions to the scheme on the sale of an applicant’s principal private residence will be capped (previously they were uncapped). Rental income from a principal private residence will be exempt when calculating an applicant’s income.
- A new Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund for the provision of serviced sites for housing. The fund, to be delivered by local authorities, will attract people to build their own homes and support the refurbishment of vacant properties, enabling people to live in small towns and villages in a sustainable way. Local Authorities will make available serviced sites at a reduced cost.
- The Government will assist local authorities in purchasing (through Compulsory Purchase Order) and reselling up to 2,500 identified vacant properties.
Measures to enable a sustainable housing system for the longer term
- The institutional capacity of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, local authorities, State agencies and the AHB sector will be enhanced to support ‘Housing for All’. Actions will include resourcing, exploration of the use of Centres of Excellence and shared services; the digitalisation of housing and planning services; a review and streamlining of all approval and other pre-contract processes (to accelerate delivery of social housing proposals and projects); work to ensure standards are applied consistently; research of EU procurement rules across Member States; and implementation of an integrated housing delivery tracking solution.
- Provide an exemption for Construction and Demolition waste currently going to facilities as recovery/landfill engineering from the proposed recovery levy, when it is introduced on 01 January 2022.
- A refocus of the remit of the Construction Technology Centre and the Construction Sector Group will drive innovation, productivity and reduce residential construction costs.
- To improve building standards and compliance, establish registers of competent builders by placing the Construction Industry Register Ireland on a statutory footing.
To oversee implementation of ‘Housing for All’
- A unit in the Department of the Taoiseach will be established to monitor and oversee implementation
- Quarterly progress reports will set out performance against the plan’s targets and actions
- A Programme Delivery Office will be established in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage Commission on Housing
- The Government will establish a Commission on Housing to take a long-term strategic view on all aspects of housing, including examining the wording of the planned referendum on housing.