Building houses

 

A chara, – Independent reports estimate that as much as 40 per cent of the cost of a new home can be made up of various taxes – VAT, stamp duty, employee and corporate taxes. Developers are also often forced to provide for development levies and a proportion of social housing in their plans, the costs of which they must then recoup by charging more for the houses they sell on the open market.

The cost of new houses can thus often double at the expense of home-buyers, reducing the numbers who can afford to buy.

This further squeezes the margins of builders who then have no incentive to increase their building capacity. The net results are reduced house-building capacity, reduced supply, unaffordable prices for most potential house buyers, and a huge unmet demand for social and affordable housing.

It is time the Government stopped strangling the life out of builders and buyers by directly commissioning the building of large numbers of affordable housing units on public lands and renting or selling them at affordable prices to the people who need them most. Meddling at the margins of the market and relying on global hedge funds to increase housing supply have been proven not to work.

If Ireland could build large numbers of affordable council houses in the 1950s and 1960s, why not now? – Yours, etc,

FRANK SCHNITTGER,

Blessington,

Co Wicklow.