House price increases expose seriousness of crisis
Sinn Féin's candidate for Dublin in the forthcoming European Elections, Mary Lou McDonald, has described as 'absolutely scandalous' figures revealed by 2004's first-quarter figures for sales of secondhand homes that have exposed again the seriousness of the housing crisis in Dublin. The figures indicate an increase of 4% in the price of a second hand home, which means that the average cost of such a home anywhere in Dublin is over half a million.
Ms McDonald said: "The price of a home in Dublin has skyrocketed to absolutely scandalous levels. The average cost of a second-hand home in Dublin is now just under €505,000, with massive increases in the Tallaght and Firhouse areas especially. Economists are now predicting price increases of 15% for 2004 by the end of the year. Young couples and families are being priced out of the housing market at the same time as the Councils are looking at selling off local authority homes.
"The Government‚s approach to the rising cost of housing has been to cut the first-time buyers grant and amend Section V of the Planning and Development Act, allowing developers to avoid building social housing.
"Sinn Féin in trying to address the crisis introduced a bill in Leinster House to enshrine the right to housing in the Constitution, receiving the support of all Opposition parties but defeated by a Government committed to opposing a rights based society. Fifty different countries around the world have already enshrined this right including fellow EU member states such as Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands.
"Of course even if such a right were to become law, it would not be the end solution to the housing crisis. Sinn Féin argues that Council land should not be sold to speculators or private developers. Surplus state and church land should be transferred to Councils to allow the building of local authority homes. We need more aggressive use of compulsory purchase orders at current use value to break up the land banks being hoarded by speculators." ENDS