The Opposition has claimed the Government has no prospect of meeting its targets for affordable and social homes in 2023, following the publication of figures for the first six months which show performance lagging well behind expectation.
The Government has set itself a target of having 5,500 affordable homes in 2023, with about a third of those coming from various shared-equity schemes where the State purchases a stake and becomes part-owner of the home.
Half-yearly figures show the take-up for affordable homes has been 1,290, the vast majority of which have been shared-equity arrangements. More than 1,100 shared-equity homes are included in the figures but they comprise approvals for loans rather than completion.
Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said only 101 affordable purchase homes had been delivered by local authorities in the first six months of 2023, with 22 units supplied by approved housing bodies and no affordable homes delivered to date by the Land Development Agency.
“In total, local authorities, housing bodies and the LDA delivered 123 homes in six months and that’s just staggeringly low given that we’re into the fourth year of this Government,” he said.
Similarly, the figures suggest the Government has delivered only about 25 per cent of its target of 9,100 social homes for 2023 in the first six months of the year.
The Department of Housing’s second-quarter report on housing targets has disclosed that 2,298 social homes were delivered in the first half of the year. This figure included build, acquisition and leasing.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has maintained that most homes are completed in the second half of the year.
“Traditionally, the delivery of social housing by local authorities builds throughout the year and a significant part of the delivery is delivered in quarter four,” he said. “This was the case last year when 10,263 social homes were delivered – the highest level of delivery of new-build housing since 1975. The current pipeline identified indicates that last year’s record will be exceeded this year.”
Mr Ó Broin disagreed with that assessment. Speaking outside Leinster House on Monday, he said: “On the basis of this rate of delivery, it is hard to see this year’s social housing being met.
“It appears that the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is incapable of meeting his own affordable and social housing targets.”
However, Mr O’Brien has repeated his prediction that the target of 9,100 will be met. “We are making significant progress on all fronts and I believe we will see a significant increase in social housing throughout the second half of the year,” he said.