I propose to take Questions Nos. 57 and 58 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, the level of housing output in the economy for any given year is the consequence of the interaction of supply and demand factors. While the demand for housing is a function of a number of economic and demographic factors, it is clear that current levels of housing output are running below estimates of medium to long-run requirements (as, for example, projected by the ESRI and others) based on underlying demographics and other factors. However, the Government does not produce annual targets for the number of houses to be built.
That said, my Department does monitor developments in the housing market. As set out in the Medium-Term Economic Strategy, the Government will continue to work on addressing remaining challenges in the property and construction sectors. This will include developing an overall strategic approach to housing supply, identifying and implementing further improvements in the planning process to facilitate appropriate development, and seeking to improve financing options for development and mortgage provision.