Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 8 Nov 2000

Vol. 525 No. 3

Written Answers. - House Prices.

Ivan Yates


299 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the progress being made in relation to affordable housing schemes throughout the country; if the targets set out have been met; the proposals he has to alter the thresholds of eligibility for these schemes and loans; and the proposals he has to increase the level of State subsidy for affordable schemes and to introduce greater uniformity between Dublin and the rest of the country in terms of subsidies for private sites for affordable house sites. [24970/00]

Details in relation to activity under the affordable housing scheme are published in my Department's quarterly and annual housing statistics bulletin. While progress to date under the scheme is slower than I had hoped for, I am confident that the measures to increase the supply of affordable housing set out in Action for Housing will ensure a substantial increase in the provision of affordable housing. Under these I increased the income eligibility thresholds for applicants under the scheme with effect from 15 June this year. For a single income household the income eligibility limit was increased from £20,000 to £25,000. In the case of a two income household the eligibility limit was raised from £50,000 to £62,500 using the formula 2.5 times A+B where A is the principal income and B is the subsidiary lesser income. The income limit for availing of the mortgage subsidy under the affordable housing scheme was also increased from £16,000 to £20,000 per annum and the subsidy levels payable have also been increased. The maximum local authority loan limit was increased to £100,000, which in the case of the affordable housing scheme can be 95% of the cost of the house, subject to the purchaser's ability to pay by reference to net income of the household.

In addition, and as part of the improvements to the terms of the scheme, a site subsidy is now payable by my Department to local authorities to enable them to provide houses at an affordable price and at a sufficient discount from market value. The maximum level of subsidy is £30,000 or the cost of the site, whichever is the lesser, in the major urban areas of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford and £25,000 in other areas. This differential is to take account of the higher cost of development land in the major urban centres.

Ivan Yates


300 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the proposals he has to introduce new legislation to curb certain practices that may mislead house purchasers in relation to guide prices for houses at auction, different phases of estates and stage payments to builders; and his proposals in this regard. [24971/00]

Legislation is currently being prepared by my Department to address a range of consumer protection issues in relation to housing. Among the provisions being considered are requirements regarding the advertising by developers of the sale of new housing developments, so that prospective purchasers are fully informed about the number of houses being sold in any particular phase and the price of each property being offered for sale. Requirements will also be set down to ensure that booking deposits are properly receipted and fully refundable if the transaction does not proceed. I also propose to limit the practice of stage payments, which I consider to be an unfair practice, as stage payments expose the house purchaser to an unacceptable degree of risk by transferring the funding cost of construction and the development risk from the developer to the purchaser. Other consumer protection legislation will include measures to inhibit the scope for gazumping. Consideration of any measures to regulate guide prices at auction would have to take account of the free market nature of an auction and the difficulties inherent in devising a methodology to establish an accurate guide price in such a free market.

Question No. 301 taken with Question No. 240.