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Accelerating Home Construction: Irish Government Announces New Measures Under Housing for All Plan

The Irish government announced extra measures under the Housing for All Plan aimed at making it cheaper to build and refurbish homes, speeding up home building, and driving down building costs across the board. These measures build on the momentum already seen this year, with work starting on a record 7,349 homes in the first three months of 2023.

The new measures comprise:

  1. Reducing the cost of construction by scrapping development levies required to connect new homes with roads, water, and other services, and subsidising development levies, saving up to the value of €12,650 per home on average. This will cut the cost of building a home and apply for a limited time only to act as an incentive.
  2. Increasing the pace at which vacant and derelict properties are renovated for new housing by beefing up grants to cut the cost of restoring empty homes and making it easier to apply. The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant will be increased from €30,000 to €50,000 for vacant properties and from €50,000 to €70,000 for derelict properties, extended to cover houses built up to 2007, and will be available for properties intended for rental as well as owner-occupied.
  3. Government financing of the construction of affordable apartments under Cost Rental to get work started on thousands of affordable apartments to rent which have planning permission but which are not being progressed. The government has agreed to commit up to €750 million via the Land Development Agency and other providers as part of this initiative to complete 4,000 to 6,000 additional affordable apartments under the Cost Rental system.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, “Housing for All is working. At the moment, about 400 people are buying their first home every week, which is the highest since the Celtic Tiger. We have the best social housing output since the 1970s. After a slowdown, commencements are bouncing back. And we are likely to meet our overall target again this year. But we need to do more.”

Tánaiste Micheál Martin emphasised that housing is the government’s top priority, and Housing For All is working. “Supply of new homes is ultimately the solution. In 2022, we built more social houses than we have in almost half a century, and the number of homes completed last year is up 45% on the year before,” Martin said.

The government has also published the Progress Report on Housing for All for the first three months of 2023, showing a record number of homes commencing construction in the first quarter. The report highlights progress across a range of important measures, including continued take-up of the First Homes Scheme, LDA grant of planning permission for over 1,100 homes, additional capacity for An Bord Pleanála, and €41 million in capital funding approved for student accommodation. There is a strong pipeline of social and affordable housing, with over 19,000 social homes at various stages of construction and over 2,700 more affordable homes already approved for funding.