‘Lockdown generation’ locked out of home ownership, builder warns

Construction magnate Michael O’Flynn urges discussion of Central Bank regulations

Tom Parlon, director general of the CIF, called for a Government-backed shared-equity scheme that would aid people in buying homes and ensure the Republic built 20,000 dwellings this year.

Tom Parlon, director general of the CIF, called for a Government-backed shared-equity scheme that would aid people in buying homes and ensure the Republic built 20,000 dwellings this year.

 

High costs and tough borrowing rules threaten to close the door on home-ownership to the “lockdown generation”, one of the Republic’s biggest builders warned on Tuesday.

Michael O’Flynn, chairman and chief executive of the O’Flynn construction group, argued that any Government plan to tackle the Republic’s housing crisis had to take building costs and affordability into account.

“What people can borrow and the Central Bank prudential rules are something that we are going to have to talk about,” he said, referring to regulations setting limits on mortgages given to home buyers by lenders.

“The lockdown generation is locked out of buying their own homes,” Mr O’Flynn added.

Costs

Speaking at a web conference on construction hosted by accountants PwC, Mr O’Flynn warned that building costs would have to addressed if the Government wanted to solve the housing crisis.

“I am very concerned that we are not facing up to the fundamental issue of costs, unless we face up to this fundamental issue of costs, we are not going to solve this housing crisis, social, affordable or private,” he said.

He pointed out that while the new Government aimed to build tens of thousands of homes, it had outlined no strategy for doing this.

The coalition wants to build 50,000 social and affordable homes over the next five years.

Shared-equity scheme

Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation, called for a Government-backed shared-equity scheme that would aid people in buying homes and ensure the Republic built 20,000 dwellings this year.

He pointed out that the industry body had told the Government that other issues needed to be tackled as well.

“There is a major water infrastructure deficit, that’s a constraint on investment and particularly on housing,” Mr Parlon said.

Builders returned to work in May following a two-month lockdown imposed by the Government in a bid to contain Covid-19’s spread.

Mr Parlon said the industry had adapted well. However, he said it would be next year before it could fully calculate how the lockdown and new systems of working have delayed projects.