House Price increases damaging communities
Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson and West Belfast Assembly candidate Cllr Fra McCann has said that the revelation that house prices increased 36% here last year, faster than anywhere else in Western Europe, was further evidence of the corruption of the housing market by property speculators and the but-to-let market and warned that it was damaging the social fabric of many communities.
Cllr McCann said:
"The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors European Housing Review makes it clear that there is something very wrong with the local housing market. Property speculators and the growth of the buy-to-let market is pushing up the cost of homes out of the reach of people, particularly first time buyers.
"The lack of affordable housing is being compounded by the serious under provision of social housing and a private rented sector that is not providing good value for money.
"The result is thousands looking for affordable housing, thousands of people trapped on the waiting lists for social housing and spiralling homelessness.
"The Semple Review must take bold steps to tackle the housing crisis and undo the damage created by the absence of a coherent approach to housing and the failure of the social housing policy.
"It is clear a number of key issues must be addressed as part of any overall strategic response to the crisis; including
- Fundamental reform of Planning Services
- A new approach to rural communities
- The provision of social housing
- The private rented sector
- Unfettered property speculation
"What is clear is that the current situation is unsustainable. The outworking of spiralling house prices is damage to the social fabric of our communities with weakening social cohesion and high levels of housing stress.
"Sinn Féin is determined that the Right to Housing is recognised as a fundamental entitlement in a future Bill of Rights and we believe that housing policy must be based on developing and supporting sustainable communities in our towns, cities, villages and rural areas." ENDS