Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (230)

Louise O'Reilly


230. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the roll-out of affordable housing schemes for Fingal. [24643/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Affordable housing for purchase is being provided under Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009.

The new affordable housing for purchase scheme replaces the time-limited claw-back which applied under the various previous affordable housing schemes.  Under the scheme, a discount of up to 40% may be provided by the local authority to the prospective purchaser of an affordable home.  The local authority will retain a charge equivalent to the discount, and the household must repay the charge at re-sale or during the charged period.  The scheme applies to new homes on local authority land, and is targeted at low to middle-income households.  The monies of the equity charge will be repaid by the purchaser into a new Affordable Dwellings Fund, which will administered by the Housing Finance Agency and used to fund more affordable housing. 

One of the mechanisms available to local authorities to help them deliver affordable housing options is the Serviced Site Fund (SSF).  Under the SSF, €310 million is being made available over a three year period, from 2019 to 2021, to support the delivery of infrastructure on local authority sites, which will deliver over 6,000 affordable homes.

The first call for proposals under the SSF in June 2018 was targeted at 11 local authorities, where it was identified that the greatest affordability pressures exist.  I issued approval in principle in December 2018 for funding for 10 infrastructure projects in Dublin and Cork with €43 million funding, which will support the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes.

Three of these ten projects approved were in the Fingal County Council area, with €14.7 million funding earmarked to support the delivery of over 870 affordable homes.

The overall cost and timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible, with the first tranche of affordable homes expected to be delivered next year.

Following the first call under the SSF, and in order to target affordable interventions, local authorities were asked to complete financial/economic assessments of each of their sites to assess whether the provision of affordable homes is economically viable.  Local authorities were also asked to assess the broader housing affordability within their area.  A second call for proposals under the SSF issued to 19 local authorities, including Fingal County Council on 9 April 2019, based on the aforementioned economic assessments.  The closing date for returns was 17 May 2019 and 30 submissions were received from 15 local authorities, including one from Fingal County Council in respect of a site in Cappaghfinn with the potential for 122 affordable units. These are currently being assessed by my Department and I intend to issue approvals under this second call in the coming weeks.

There are currently 3 LIHAF projects in Fingal County Council and it is projected that they will, cumulatively deliver 40 affordable units and 2,070 cost reduced units.

With regard to the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, the most recent figures available to my Department indicate that up to the end of May 2019, 580 loan applications received by Fingal County Council had been assessed by the Housing Agency central assessment service, 339 of which had been recommended for approval.  In terms of loans issued,  the latest information available, as at end Q1 2019, indicates that Fingal County Council has issued a total of 99 Rebuilding Ireland loans, with a value of €21.7m.