Just 64 social housing units delivered by private sector in 2015

Part V rules require developers to set aside 10% of homes for use as social housing

The social housing figure for 2016 is unlikely to be anywhere near the Government’s target of about 900 units a year. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The social housing figure for 2016 is unlikely to be anywhere near the Government’s target of about 900 units a year. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

So-called Part V planning regulations, which require developers to set aside 10 per cent of new homes for use as social housing, delivered just 64 new dwellings in 2015, according to the official data.

While the figure for 2016 has yet to be published, it is unlikely to be anywhere near the Government’s target level of 4,700 over five years, which equates to an annual build of about 900 units a year.

Part V regulations were revised in 2015 with the requirement that developers allocate 20 per cent of all dwellings for social and affordable housing halved, to 10 per cent.

The new legislation, however, stipulated that builders could no longer offer cash to local authorities in lieu of this obligation, or offer sites or land elsewhere, which was common practice during the boom.

This means social housing in every new development of 10 or more dwellings is now guaranteed.

The Government hopes the requirement, with the aid of a strong recovery in construction, will deliver a significant portion of its 47,000 social housing target, including its own procurement programme, over the next five years.

However, the official figures suggest there were only 807 Part V social housing units delivered to local authorities between 2011 and 2015, compared with 12,548 over the previous five years.

Building rates

The Department of Housing said the low Part V delivery so far reflected building rates in the private sector, which had not yet recovered from the crash.

A spokesman said the 4,700 delivery projection over the next five years was based on a projected private sector building rate of about 25,000 units per year. Dublin architect and property expert Mel Reynolds, however, claimed there was a “disconnect” between the Government’s target numbers and the level of new homes being built.

“This is a symptom of the Government’s housing policy. We have these vastly inflated numbers that bear no relationship to what’s being achieved,” he said.

Mr Reynolds said it was unrealistic to expect the number of Part V housing units to jump from 64 to about 900 in the space of two years given the rules have been relaxed considerably. He also noted the Government’s Part V budget allocation for 2017 was €140 million, which could fund the purchase of more than 700 homes by local authorities.

Under the revised Part V rules, local authorities can now also lease the houses long-term so as to reduce pressure on their capital budgets.