Government must do more to help first-time buyers, Donohoe says

Minister said he did not agree with what had happened with funds in Maynooth estate

 Minister for Finance Paschal Donnohoe said that three quarters of one percent of the housing stock in Ireland was owned by institutional funds . Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Finance Paschal Donnohoe said that three quarters of one percent of the housing stock in Ireland was owned by institutional funds . Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has acknowledged that the Government must do more to support first-time buyers and the challenges they face.

The Government was “absolutely aware” of what needed to be done with regard to housing and to address the issues raised “by so many,” he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

The controversy over what had happened with the bulk-buying of homes by investment funds in an estate in Maynooth demonstrated the challenges facing the sector, he added. Such events underscored the urgency of the situation and what was required to address the challenges facing tenants and first time buyers.

Mr Donohoe said that three quarters of one percent of the housing stock in Ireland was owned by institutional funds while four percent of tenancies were owned by institutional funds who, he said, had a role to play in the supply of private homes.

“We need to deliver 33,000 homes per year in Ireland, over the next decade. Out of that 18,000 homes need to be delivered by the private sector and funds have a role to play in supplying the capital to build those private homes.”

The Minister said he did not agree with what had happened in Maynooth. “We need to get the balance between dealing with that kind of behaviour, and try to change the incentives, but also recognising that we do need investment to build more homes.”

When asked about proposals of a commercial stamp duty rate of seven percent, Mr Donohoe said he would not comment on tax decisions before they are brought to Government, as that could have “all kinds of consequences” for which he would be held accountable.

The Government’s recognition of the challenges in the housing market had driven its actions over recent years, he said.

“Between 2016 and the end of the last government 80,000 more homes were built, 30,000 families were taken off social housing, and there was a reduction in the number of people who were homeless as well.”

Mr Donohoe pointed out that despite the challenges of the past year 20,000 homes were built in Ireland and that last year the State was the single biggest builder delivering over 6,000 homes.