The Government acknowledges the affordability pressures faced by some households with low to moderate incomes in particular parts of the country. It is precisely for that reason that the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness has prioritised the supply of new and more affordable homes. Importantly, all housing construction activity indicators are moving in the right direction, showing that the focus on increasing and accelerating housing supply is working.
Recognising that initiatives introduced to date are having an impact and will have a greater impact in time, I announced last month a package of initiatives to help alleviate affordability pressures faced by households, particularly in areas of high housing demand and high accommodation costs. The measures announced were the new Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, a new Affordable Purchase Scheme and a new Affordable Cost Rental Scheme. Further details on this suite of initiatives are available on the rebuildingireland.ie website.
The new affordable purchase scheme will be governed by the relevant provisions of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 which will be commenced shortly. Once the relevant provisions are commenced, I will develop, in consultation with the Housing Agency and local authorities, detailed Regulations covering the operation of the Scheme, including eligibility criteria.
In order to kick-start the delivery of affordable homes, I am providing Exchequer funding of €25 million, over 2018 and 2019, for a targeted programme, under which local authorities will make low-cost serviced sites available for affordable housing, working with Approved Housing Bodies or co-operative housing associations as appropriate.
A pilot project on the cost rental initiative is currently being progressed in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, in conjunction with the Housing Agency and Approved Housing Bodies, using publicly-owned land. I expect this pilot to go to the market later this year to secure a development partner and the best value for the State and prospective qualifying renters.
I anticipate that there is significant potential for the delivery of affordable homes on local authority lands. Following on from the Housing Summit on 22 January, I have asked local authority Chief Executives to submit in early March an outline of their respective affordable housing programmes.