Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 was commenced in June 2018 to provide a statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase. Regulations in respect of the making of Schemes of Priority were signed on 12 March 2019, and these were issued to local authorities on 22 March 2019. The purpose of a Scheme of Priority is to set out the affordable purchase arrangements at local authority level. This includes the methodology that will be applied by local authorities to determine the order of priority to be accorded to eligible households where the demand for such affordable dwellings exceeds the number available.
In line with the legal requirements of the Affordable Dwelling Purchase Arrangements, further regulations will be put in place over the coming months regarding eligibility and other matters. When the operational procedures for the scheme are finalised, and before dwellings are made available for purchase under the scheme, a programme of communication will be undertaken by my Department and local authorities.
In order to support the delivery of discounted homes to buy or rent, this Government has committed €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund, from 2019 to 2021, to provide infrastructure to support the delivery of some 6,200 homes. To date, funding of €127 million, in support of 35 projects in 14 local authority areas, has been allocated for infrastructure works on sites that will support the delivery of almost 3,200 homes.
Details of all SSF funded infrastructure projects can be found on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following links:
The overall cost and the timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of design, planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible.
In addition to making discounted homes available for purchase, the Government is also committed to the development of ‘Cost Rental’ in Ireland. Under the Cost Rental model, rents cover the cost of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes only, less both the profit margin seen in the private rental sector and any financial supports provided by the State/local authorities. With the resulting rents significantly below market levels, this would mean that many households on moderate incomes will have access to a more affordable and stable form of rental tenure than would otherwise have been the case.
In order to drive delivery, two early mover pilot projects are being advanced, one at Enniskerry Road, in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and the other at Emmet Road in Inchicore. In tandem with these pilot projects, my Department is developing a national policy approach to Cost Rental for Ireland to ensure future projects can be delivered at a scale and in a manner that will have the desired positive impact on the Irish housing sector.
These new schemes are complemented by other key Government affordability initiatives, including the Rebuilding Ireland home loan and the Help to Buy Scheme. In addition, the Land Development Agency's initial portfolio of sites will have the potential to deliver 3,000 affordable homes and the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund ( LIHAF) will support more than 2,300 affordable homes on mainly publicly owned lands, while 5,600 further homes will benefit from a LIHAF related cost reduction, some of which have already come on stream.
In overall terms, programmes are in place under which some 18,000 affordable homes or homes with a LIHAF related reduction will be delivered, with 15,000 households already supported under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan or the Help to Buy Scheme.