Government vows to deliver 300,000 housing units by 2030

Housing plan targeting social, affordable and cost-rental homes broadly welcomed

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien: Housing for All outlines plans to increase the supply of housing to 33,000 per year over the next decade. Photograph: Maxwells

The Government has pledged to spend €20 billion on housing over the next five years to deliver an average of 33,000 units a year in an ambitious plan to solve what Taoiseach Micheál Martin said was “a social emergency”.

If implemented as planned, the Housing for All strategy will see an additional 300,000 housing units by 2030 and make new housing affordable for tens of thousands of people currently shut out of the housing market.

But the plan was dismissed by Sinn Féin, who said it was "more of the same failed Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael housing policy, which caused the housing crisis in the first place".

The party’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said it would “make the housing crisis worse, particularly in the next few years”, while party leader Mary Lou McDonald said it had “no sense of urgency, no sense of purpose”.


It was welcomed, however, by industry groups and homeless charities. Tom Parlon of the Construction Industry Federation said it would increase output, while the Peter McVerry Trust gave what it said was a "broad endorsement" of the strategy, saying it was "a progressive document that will move us closer to achieving a more sustainable housing system that works for all in society".

Public and private

As expected, the document anticipates a mixture of public and private investment in housing, with about half of all homes planned under the strategy provided by the State. It pledges that more than 90,000 social homes will be built by the end of the decade, plus almost 54,000 affordable and cost-rental homes.

The plan includes two affordable housing schemes with an expectation that there will be 4,000 such homes on average available each year of the plan. There is to be a new affordable-purchase, shared-equity scheme for buyers of first homes on the private market, with price ceilings based on open market prices and expected to range from €225,000 in rural areas to about €450,000 in the most expensive parts of Dublin.

A different local authority-led, affordable-purchase scheme is to have a target average price of €250,000.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has previously projected a need for 33,000 new homes each year to meet demand. Housing for All expects to deliver 33,450 homes in 2024, rising to 40,500 in 2030.

Cost of construction

The plan also pledges an average of 2,000 cost-rental homes per year or 18,000 over the lifetime of the plan. In the cost-rental system, rents are based on the cost of building, managing and maintaining the homes, and not market rates. Rents are to be at least 25 per cent below the market. However, while Ministers said that rents were too high, there were no targets to reduce rents in the private sector.

The Land Development Agency (LDA), which is tasked with boosting housing supply on State-owned land, will see its spending power increase by €1 billion to €3.5 billion. It will also have a role in activating dormant planning permissions.

A new system of “land-value sharing” will see developers or landowners required to pay a proportion of the increased value of a holding if the land is rezoned for housing. A vacant property tax is planned but the Government will take time to collect data on vacancy levels, and the tax is unlikely to be introduced until next year at the earliest.

Ministers pledged the strategy would be implemented from the outset. "Demand for delivery," Mr Martin said, "is built into this plan". He said there were 230 different "action points" in the plan and that implementation would be overseen by a group of secretaries-general of relevant government departments, led by the Department of the Taoiseach. "We will not be tolerating excuses," Mr Martin said.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times