Government on course to exceed housing targets in 2023 and 2024, says Taoiseach

Output likely to exceed this year’s target of 29,000 units and next year’s 33,000 objective, says Government

Sinn Féin accused the Minister for Housing of 'refusing to publish updates on social and affordable housing delivery, private home purchase schemes and the public housing capital spend to date'. Photograph: The Irish Times

The Goverment will hit or exceed its targets for new homes this year and next, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who claimed the Coalition was “making real progress” on the issue.

However, it is unclear if the targets for social and affordable units will be met in 2023 amid uncertainty about the quarter three completions and questions over whether the State-backed Land Development Agency could deploy its budgetary allocation for 2023.

Providing an update on residential housing supply for the first nine months of the year alongside Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, Mr Varadkar said, based on completion and commencement trends to date, output is likely to exceed this year’s target of 29,000 units and next year’s 33,000 target.

“In the past 12 months, 30,000 new homes have been built. That is 50 per cent more than when this Government came to office, more than double the number when I become Taoiseach in 2017. Housing for All [the Coalition’s housing strategy] is working,” he said.

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Based on the previous 12 months, the output for 2023 could exceed 31,000 units as most of the supply comes in the final quarter while one industry projection indicated it could be as high as 34,000. The official output figure for the first nine months of the year was 22,400.

It is unclear, however, if the 9,100 social homes and 3,500 affordable homes targets for this year will be met as data for the third quarter is still being compiled. Last year, just over 7,000 social homes were delivered against a target of 9,000.

As part of the update, the Government announced several new measures aimed at strengthening supply, including the broadening of the Local Authority Home Loan scheme to make finance available to purchase and renovate derelict or non-habitable properties.

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It has also doubled the number of homes eligible for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant under the Croí Cónaithe fund, raising the target to 4,000 to be delivered in 2025.

The Government also announced that new approval has been given for funding of €448 million to deliver 250 affordable purchases and more than 1,650 cost-rental homes.

The Minister for Housing said: “All the indicators — completions, commencements and planning permissions — are showing a positive momentum and strong delivery.”

By the end of the year, “we will have delivered 100,000 homes since 2020”, he said.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin accused Mr O’Brien of “refusing to publish updates on social and affordable housing delivery, private home purchase schemes and the public housing capital spend to date”.

“Each quarter Darragh O’Brien publishes a so-called ‘progress’ report on his housing plan. However, each quarter key information is missing from the report. This information relates to public housing delivery and schemes for private home purchase,” he said.

“The reason why Darragh O’Brien remains silent on the social and affordable housing programmes’ delivery this year is because they are all once again behind target. That is why house prices and rents continue to rise,” he said.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times