About three-quarters of homes to be delivered by LDA are expected to be cost rental

Organisation’s new chairman to outline plans for over 10,000 new homes

The LDA is to develop  cost-rental housing, as well as deliver affordable purchase and social housing. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The LDA is to develop cost-rental housing, as well as deliver affordable purchase and social housing. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

About three-quarters of the homes to be delivered by the Land Development Agency (LDA) are expected to be cost rental, according to the organisation’s new chairman.

New chairman Cormac O’Rourke will also outline LDA plans for more than 10,000 new homes to be provided in the short to medium term when he appears before the Oireachtas committee on housing on Thursday.

The Government’s Housing for All plan to tackle the housing crisis aims to deliver 18,000 cost-rental homes by 2030.

The cost-rental model involves rates of rent that cover the cost of constructing and maintaining the homes.

The intention is for the tenants’ rent payments to be at least 25 per cent below market value. Cost rental is aimed at people who don’t qualify for social housing but cannot afford rent in the private market.

Under Housing for All, the LDA will be the State’s primary channel for the development of cost-rental housing. It will also deliver affordable purchase and social housing.

The LDA had been established on an interim basis in 2018 to amass and develop State property for housing but it became a statutory body only in July last when new laws took force.

LDA chairman designate Mr O’Rourke is to tell the committee that the agency’s “working assumption is that cost rental will account for approximately 75 per cent of homes built” as a result of its work.

His opening statement to the committee will say that this is “subject to future discussions with the local authorities and Government on the housing needs in different areas”.

Mr O’Rourke will detail short-term plans, saying the LDA’s main focus in the coming year will be on delivery.

He says construction at two key sites, Shanganagh, Co Dublin, and St Kevin’s in Cork, will start this year, “but will take some time to complete”.

Project Tosaigh

The LDA is also involved in Housing for All’s Project Tosaigh – an initiative to activate land with planning permission that is not currently going to construction or is not being delivered quickly enough.

The proposal is to accelerate the provision of public housing – both cost rental and affordable purchase – on such private land through forward purchase.

His statement says the ambition is to deliver 5,000 homes through Project Tosaigh over the next four years.

On medium-term plans, Mr O’Rourke says that approximately 5,200 more homes are to be delivered on 10 State-owned sites, including St Teresa’s Gardens and the Central Mental Hospital site in Dublin as well as Shanganagh and St Kevin’s.

He says these plans are subject to planning and Government approval and the expected mix of housing to be delivered on the sites is approximately 80 per cent apartments and 20 per cent houses. Other sites to follow the initial 10 have also been identified.

Mr O’Rourke will say that “the issue of poor productivity arises in the construction of housing from the fact that builders continue to execute a traditional site-based approach”.

He will say that “the LDA will look to encourage standardisation and modular construction – to speed up construction, improve quality, provide better working conditions for workers, and generate houses that are more sustainable at lower cost”.

Mr O’Rourke will outline his career with the ESB, KBC Bank, ESB International and Goodbody Corporate Finance, as well as his time as chairman of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in his first meeting with the committee