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Minister must come clean on new build housing figures – Ó Broin

24 April, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on Minister Simon Coveney to “come clean on new build housing figures”. The call was made after new data secured via Freedom of Information revealed that the number of new houses built in 2016 is dramatically lower than the Department of Housing claims.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Minister Coveney has repeatedly said that the state needs to increase the supply of new housing by at least 25,000 units a year. Meeting this target is central to the Government meeting its objectives under rebuilding.

“Minister Coveney has claimed that 14,932 new houses were built in 2016. When one-off housing is removed, this means that 8,729 new estate houses were delivered into the market last year.

“Doubt has been cast over these figures for some time by industry and academic experts. At the centre of the controversy is the use of ESB connection figures by the Department.

“ESB connection figures include both new builds and properties reconnected to the network after two years without supply. The Department has repeatedly said that the figures are a good estimate of the number of new houses delivered.

“However, figures secured via Freedom of Information by Architect Mel Reynolds and DIT lecturer  Lorcan Sirr from the Local Government Management Association suggest that the number of new build estate houses could be as low as 848. This is substantially lower than earlier estimates.

“The time has come for Minister Coveney to come clean on his housing figures. It is not acceptable for the Department of Housing to continually release figures that are not only inaccurate but wildly off the mark.

“The Minister urgently needs to review the collection and presentation of new home data. His figures should clearly state how many new build houses are coming on steam and how many older houses are being brought back into stock, whether from ghost estates, NAMA, long term Council voids or other sources.

“Failure to do this means that housing policy will be based on misleading figures that are unable to tell us how many new houses are being built each year.” 

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