Kelly rules out rent controls and says new homes are answer

Minister for Environment wants to double number of local authority and social homes

Deputy Labour leader Alan Kelly: “Isn’t it quite amazing we have a need for more private housing considering we were building almost 100,000 a year a few years ago?” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Deputy Labour leader Alan Kelly: “Isn’t it quite amazing we have a need for more private housing considering we were building almost 100,000 a year a few years ago?” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 01:00

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has ruled out introducing rent controls for now as a response to rapidly increasing sale and rental prices of properties in Dublin and other large urban areas.

As concerns are expressed about the possibility of a property price spiral, Mr Kelly said the best way of responding to it was to increase the availability of social and private housing stock. The price of property and rents in some areas have risen sharply since 2011, with an acceleration this year.

He told The Irish Times that social housing was his number one priority. The State needs to build a lot of houses in the next five years to meet demand, with a comparable increase in the social housing stock, he said.

 

‘Main challenges’

“There are considerable challenges,” he said. Mr Kelly said he wished to create conditions that would allow the Government to reach its target of 25,000 new units each year, though a combination of direct financing, public-private partnerships and local authorities setting up their own financing instruments.

 

“Isn’t it quite amazing we have a need for more private housing considering we were building almost 100,000 a year a few years ago,” he said.

He said he would try to create the conditions to allow this to happen. He had already met Nama, which said it would build 22,000 units over the next five years, and he wanted in effect to double the number of local authority and social homes to 14,000 a year.

On the suggestion that rent controls be introduced, he said: “That is not something that’s in my head to do. You also have to ensure that confidence is maintained.”