The Government has taken a multi-faceted approach to address the on-going structural constraints within the housing and residential land markets. In overall terms, the key elements of the Government’s approach are set out in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness and the National Planning Framework, as part of Project Ireland 2040, building on the provisions of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, under which up to 10% of land for housing development is made available to local authorities at existing use value.
In terms of the strategic development of the State’s residential land bank, all local authority sites were mapped on the Rebuilding Ireland land map, which is available at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/rebuilding-ireland-land-map/. The map includes details of over 700 local authority and Housing Agency owned sites amounting to some 1,700 hectares. The map also includes some 30 sites (comprising circa 200 hectares) in the ownership of State or semi-State bodies. These sites are being brought forward for social and mixed-tenure development.
In order to incentivise the development of vacant and under-utilised sites in urban areas, the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 introduced the vacant site levy. Planning authorities are empowered under the Act to apply a vacant site levy of 3% of the market value of relevant vacant sites subject to qualifying criteria. In Budget 2019, the rate of the levy was increased to 7%.
The recently established Land Development Agency has an immediate focus on managing the State’s own lands to develop new homes, and regenerate under-utilised sites. In the longer-term it will assemble strategic land-banks from a mix of public and private lands, making these available for housing in a controlled manner which brings essential long-term stability to the Irish housing and residential land market. It has an overarching objective to build 150,000 new homes over the next 20 years.