I thank Deputies Ó Broin and Darragh O'Brien for Questions Nos. 41 and 42 which I propose to answer together.
In the first nine months of 2018, some 18,781 additional social housing solutions were provided across all local authorities, representing 74% of the overall 2018 annual target of 25,469. Within these overall numbers, the 2018 build target was for the delivery of 4,969 social housing homes, 2,369, or 48%, of which had been delivered by the end of quarter 3. My Department continued to work intensively with local authorities and approved housing bodies over the course of quarter 4 with a view to maximising delivery to year end and I expect to be in a position to provide indicative full-year delivery data in the coming weeks. I will also be setting 2019 social housing delivery targets for each local authority. I am satisfied that the significant expansion in the social housing construction programme over the course of 2018 provides a strong platform for increased build activity this year.
Affordable housing is being facilitated through a range of measures. Under the serviced sites fund, €310 million will be made available from 2019 until 2021 to fund the provision of facilitating infrastructure on local authority sites to support the construction of over 6,000 affordable homes. In response to a first call for proposals under the fund, I issued approval last month for funding for infrastructure projects costing €43 million. This funding will support the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes.
I expect to issue a second call for proposals under the fund shortly.
Dublin City Council is working to deliver almost 250 affordable homes at O'Devaney Gardens and Oscar Traynor Road, with some 380 cost rental homes being progressed through pilot projects at St. Michael's estate in Inchicore and at Enniskerry Road in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. The local infrastructure housing activation fund, LIHAF, will also yield an affordable housing dividend, with some 2,350 affordable homes being facilitated on sites benefiting from LIHAF funding. A further 5,600 homes will benefit from a LIHAF-related cost reduction. To support further delivery, the Land Development Agency, which was established late last year, is actively pursuing the development of an initial tranche of eight sites yielding 3,000 homes, 30% of which will be affordable homes. The timescales for the delivery of affordable housing will be one of the issues I will explore further as part of my next engagement with chief executives of local authorities in the coming weeks. In 2019, record funding of €2.4 billion is being made available to support activity in respect of housing programmes generally. I am confident that this will underpin a further significant increase in momentum across all local authorities this year.
The most recent data show the continuation of some very positive trends with regard to broader housing supply. They indicate that we remain on track to reach the 25,000 target for new home delivery by 2020 as envisaged under Rebuilding Ireland. Planning permissions were up 62% in the year to the end of September 2018. Commencements have more than doubled since the end of 2015, with over 21,000 commencements in the year to October 2018. According to CSO data, some 20,396 new homes became available for use in the year to the end of September 2018. House prices and housing affordability vary significantly across the country. In the year to October 2018, the median house price nationally was €244,999. It was highest in Dublin, at €365,000. Median prices were as low as €100,000 in some areas. In terms of supporting home ownership, nearly 9,500 applications have been approved under the help to buy scheme. It is estimated that the Rebuilding Ireland home loan, which was introduced last year, saw over 500 loan drawdowns by the end of 2018. Delivery across all parts of the housing spectrum will continue to be afforded the highest priority by the Government over the course of this year.