Fears of investment firms bulk buying homes ‘totally spurious’, says O’Brien

Comments come after councillors approve deal with developer for 1,200 homes in Donabate

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said  he had last week issued guidelines to local authorities and An Bord Pleanála blocking the sale of houses and apartments to institutional investors. Photograph: Damien Eagers/The Irish Times

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said he had last week issued guidelines to local authorities and An Bord Pleanála blocking the sale of houses and apartments to institutional investors. Photograph: Damien Eagers/The Irish Times

 

Suggestions that private homes in a planned scheme of 1,200 houses and apartments in Donabate could be “bulk bought” by investment firms are “totally spurious and completely incorrect”, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said.

On Monday night Fingal county councillors approved a deal with developer Glenveagh for the large scale housing scheme on council land at Ballymastone, Donabate.

Under the deal 20 per cent of the homes will be used for social housing and 20 per cent will be sold as affordable homes. However, 60 per cent will be private homes sold by Glenveagh.

Councillors voted by 31 to nine to support the scheme, with Sinn Féin, Social Democrats and some Independents voting against, citing concerns about the high level of private housing and the risk that Glenveagh might renege on a deal preventing the sale of the private home to institutional investors.

Ahead of the meeting Glenveagh told the council it would not sell any houses or duplexes to institutional investors. At least 50 per cent of apartments would be offered for a cost rental scheme and “in respect of the balance, we will commit to making first offer to the private market”.

‘No bulk sales’

Mr O’Brien said aside from the Glenveagh commitment, he had last week issued guidelines to local authorities and An Bord Pleanála blocking the sale of houses and apartments to institutional investors.

“This idea that there could be a bulk sale of these homes is totally spurious and completely incorrect,” he said.

“Not only have the developer Glenveagh committed to not doing that, the circular that’ve issued for all new planning applications that come will ban bulk sale so there will be no bulk sales.”

It was he said “pretty stunning that people could actually vote against” the Donabate development.

Mr O’Brien was speaking at the opening of a new social housing scheme in two restored and reconstructed Georgian houses on Dorset Street in Dublin.

The €3.4 million development by housing association Clanmil Ireland, involved the restoration of 12 Dorset Street Upper, built in 1745 former home of politician and playwright Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan and the rebuilding of number 13, formerly occupied by derelict pub The Moy.

The buildings have been converted into nine social housing apartments, some of which will be used to rehouse older residents from the Dorset Street flats which are to be redeveloped by Dublin City Council.