The Government's approach to housing is failing miserably. Dublin City Council and Cork City Council commissioned KPMG to conduct analysis of future housing needs as part for their development plans for the period 2022 to 2028. These reports are frightening. They reveal that the housing crisis is set to get even worse in the coming years, even if the Government delivers on current policy. Here are the facts according to the reports.
In Dublin, average house prices are expected to rise by 36% to more than €500,000. That is mind-boggling. Rents in Dublin will increase by 50% to an average of €2,500 per month. That is not for a family home; it is for a one-bedroom apartment. In the Taoiseach's home city of Cork, the outlook is just as bleak. In his neck of the woods, by 2028 the average cost of a home will be just under €500,000. Renters in the city that the Taoiseach represents, his constituents, are set to be hammered. Rents in Cork are expected to increase by an incredible 36%. These are the projected price increases even if all of the Government's targets are met.
Let us imagine a family starting out in Douglas or Carrigaline listening to and realising this. Ordinary workers in Dublin, Cork and throughout the State are already struggling to meet astronomical housing costs. Wages have not increased, and they certainly will not increase at anything like the same rate as price inflation over the next seven years. How on Earth does the Taoiseach expect people to be able to put a roof over their heads?
A generation is today locked out of affordable housing and home ownership is a pipe dream for many. We thought the Government's housing crisis could not get any worse but the message from the reports to which I refer is that we have seen nothing yet. Without a radical change in Government housing policy, we are looking at a serious catastrophe; a disaster for workers and families, for society and for Ireland’s long-term economic attractiveness and stability.
These are significant reports. They were conducted on behalf of the two largest local authorities in the State in order to allow them to plan the development of their cities. They are based on the most up-to-date data from the CSO and the ESRI. For a Government with an ounce of cop-on, alarm bells would be ringing very loudly. Instead, we get deafening silence, heads stuck in the sand, no urgency to respond, no forward-thinking, and, frankly, no common sense.
The Government needs to change the direction of its policy away from the interests of developers and investor funds and focus it squarely on meeting the housing needs of workers and families. The very first thing it should do is significantly ramp up investment in the direct delivery of genuinely affordable homes. The target of 1,250 affordable homes next year is nowhere near enough. We need 8,000 genuinely affordable units every year in order to avoid the nightmare projected in these reports. That is the level of ambition required.
Léiríonn na tuairiscí a rinneadh do chomhairlí cathracha Chorcaí agus Bhaile Átha Cliath go bhfuil sé beartaithe go leanfaidh an ghéarchéim tithíochta ar aghaidh agus go bhfuil sí chun éirí níos measa fós. Tá athrú polasaí Rialtas dáiríre ag teastáil go práinneach.
My questions are simple. Has the Taoiseach read the reports? Is he concerned by the forecasts they contain? Does he accept that a fundamental change in Government housing policy is required to end the housing crisis?