The Deputy asked if the cross-departmental team spends much time on housing — it does and it spends much time on housing, roads and other essential infrastructure. The Minister and Ministers of State have spelt out a range of issues in these areas and there is no need for me to go into them.
The Deputy knows I did not say I was satisfied with the rate of increase in house prices. That is why I talk about supply — the greater the supply, the more likely it is there will be control on the demand side and that there will be areas where house prices do not go up. When the population and the standard of living is rising, and people are working, demand will exist.
The point I was making was that the value of housing stock is estimated at €500 billion while the mortgage value is €100 billion. That is not to say I do not wish for prices to moderate, for supply and balanced regional development, but with those figures anyone looking at a balance sheet would ask how that adds up to a difficulty.
That does not take away from all the initiatives that are under way. The cross-departmental team is primarily interested in an affordable housing partnership, with mortgage finance from private lending agencies available for affordable housing applicants and it has made good progress there. On the direct sale of affordable housing, it has co-ordinated the delivery of affordable housing between the four local authorities in the Dublin area and Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. It has brought forward additional land and been involved in a host of areas to make it easier for people to get affordable homes and it continues to do that.
Admittedly, as I said to Deputy Rabbitte, some of the schemes it has introduced take time. The affordable homes partnership was only set up in August and has now asked the industry for ideas about this. It is examining the submissions it received in this area at Christmas. It is actively engaged and communicating efficiently so that young people will have better information about affordable housing options and streamlining the process for young people making applications for affordable housing. In fairness to those involved, they are doing a good job.