Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Armagh House Prices reflect scale of housing crisis

2 November, 2007


Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan has said that the latest house price index showing that house prices had risen by 188% in the Armagh area and Newry by 157%, require an urgent response from Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie.

Mr Boylan said:

"This latest report highlights again, if it was needed, the extent of the housing crisis.

"First time buyers are in particularly being forced out of a housing market that is dominated by property developers, speculators, private landlords and the buy-to-let market.

"There is an affordability crisis when just about 1 in 10 homes costs less than £150,000. We are also seeing high levels of mortgage repossession because people are taking on mortgages that they cannot afford to pay.

"Now is the time for action not excuses.

"While there is some slow down in price increases in recent months the fact is that this is being accompanied by a slow down in new building. And still there is virtually no indication of what is going to be done about the failure of the social and affordable housing sectors

"There are a number steps and initiatives that can and should be taken immediately. The full implementation of Section 40 would immediately begin to bring housing - both social and affordable housing - on stream. Margaret Ritchie could also use the considerable land banks that are available to her department to negotiate with developers to deliver significant new build programmes to increase the numbers of social and affordable houses."

Mr Boylan concluded by stating that the Minister needed to show some leadership and some initiative in dealing with the housing crisis. "There is no point standing idly by and blaming others" he said. ENDS

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