More than 600 seek to buy 41 affordable houses in Ballymun
Scheme yet to receive planning permission and will take at least 18 months to finish
Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance recently sold an estate of 49 houses in Ballymun, with prices starting at €140,000 for a two-bedroom, €160,000 for a three-bedroom and €199,000 for a four-bedroom house.
The co-op now plans to build another estate of 66 homes, 45 of which will be houses, with four reserved for social housing and 41 for sale, as well as 22 apartments that will be used for an affordable rental scheme.
Since the completion of the houses in its first estate just two weeks ago, the co-op has been contacted by more than 600 prospective buyers interested in houses in its next estate, for which the co-op has yet to seek planning permission.
“It’s been unbelievable. We’ve had to start a waiting list, and obviously we can’t accommodate 600 families, so we would be advocating that this type of affordable housing scheme would be replicated, not only in Ballymun but throughout the country,” Ó Cualann chief executive Hugh Brennan said.
The new houses, most of which will be three-beds, will be more expensive than the first estate as labour and other costs have risen, but Mr Brennan said he hoped to keep prices below €220,000.
As with the first estate, buyers must meet eligibility criteria to be considered by the co-op; they must be from or working in the local area, they must have incomes within specified limits and they must have a 10 per cent deposit and mortgage approval in principle. In addition, buyers who are renting a local authority house, which they will be returning to the council, will be given first preference.
“Even with these criteria we expect to be oversubscribed and so we will put in place an allocations committee to assess the applications,” Mr Brennan said.
The land earmarked for the new homes is owned by Dublin City Council, which must agree to its rezoning and its disposal to the co-op before Ó Cualann can seek planning permission.
However, Mr Brennan said the co-op hopes to be in a position to submit a planning application by the end of the year. “We would love to be starting work on these this time next year.”
Local Sinn Féin councillor Noeleen Reilly said the waiting list indicated an urgent need for the Government to establish a new national affordable housing scheme.
“There is room for another 2,000 homes in Ballymun, and so there are huge opportunities for affordable housing here, but there is lots of vacant land in the city and elsewhere that could be used for affordable housing.”
Ms Reilly said she was not surprised by the demand for places in Ó Cualann’s new scheme.
“We are in the middle of a huge housing crisis, people desperately need homes. Ó Cualann are fantastic, but they are not the biggest organisation in the world. There needs to be a national affordable housing scheme.”
A new affordable housing scheme was promised nearly two years ago in budget 2016, but has yet to materialise.