As part of Budget 2018, the Minister for Finance announced the Government's intention to establish Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) to provide funding to viable residential development projects in the State, whose owners are experiencing difficulty obtaining debt funding. With a fund of up to €750 million, HBFI will have the capacity to fund the supply of approximately 6,000 additional homes in the coming years, thereby making a meaningful impact in addressing the supply shortfall. The HBFI Bill was published on 18 June and is a priority piece of legislation for the Government.
The establishment of HBFI has been modelled on the successful operation of NAMA’s residential funding team which has facilitated the delivery of circa 7,300 homes since 2014. Given this experience, I understand that existing NAMA staff may be reassigned to HBFI to ensure that HBFI can benefit from the considerable experience and skills in residential delivery amassed in NAMA. Once HBFI is operational, NAMA will no longer have any role and any staff reassigned from NAMA to HBFI will no longer have any reporting line to NAMA to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest. Ultimately, it will be for the Board of HBFI, once constituted, to determine its precise staffing requirements, having regard to its functions.
HBFI will play an important part in the Government’s overall strategy to increase the supply of new housing. Together with the comprehensive set of actions laid out in Rebuilding Ireland, I am confident that HBFI will help provide a further impetus for the continued increase in home building across the country.