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Affordable Housing Package ‘Deeply Disappointing’ – Ó Broin

22 January, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has described Minister Eoghan Murphy’s affordable housing package as “deeply disappointing”.

The Dublin Mid-West TD was responding to the announcement by Minister Murphy of a revised Council loan scheme, an affordable home scheme and an affordable rental scheme.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The affordable housing measures announced by Minister Murphy today are deeply disappointing. They will have little impact on the affordability crisis and have the potential to cause real problems in the future.

“The revised council loan scheme for first time buyers is a rehash of the existing scheme. While the 2% fixed interest rate will be of benefit to some people, the scheme itself is badly designed. The scheme allows first time buyers to breach the central bank lending rules in order to buy overpriced homes. The existing council loan scheme has had a very poor take-up and a large level of significant mortgage arrears. I am genuinely concerned that the revised scheme will lead to the same results.

“The new affordable housing scheme is very unclear. Granting the Local Authority an equity stake in the home is cumbersome. The basis of the stake and the reasons for it have not been explained. It is also not clear what the relationship to the Local Infrastructure Fund and the €25m affordable housing fund is. Again, the concern is that public funds will be used to facilitate the purchase of overpriced homes.

“Most disappointing of all is the absence of any real affordable rental scheme. There has been a government commitment since 2014 to introduce such a scheme, yet all the Minister has said today is that there will be a pilot at some undefined point in the future. Struggling renters will be asking themselves why it is taking so long to get this off the ground. 

“The Governments focus should be on providing a stream of genuinely affordable homes ranging from €170,000 to €260,000 for those earning between €45,000 and €75,000. This would be best achieved by Councils developing affordable homes on public land accessing finance from the Housing Finance Agency or the Strategic Investment Fund. 

“While a small number of families may benefit from today’s announcement, it will do little to address the growing affordability crisis for tens of thousands of struggling working people desperate to buy or rent at genuinely affordable prices.” 

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