Cian O'Callaghan TD

Cuckoo funds are swooping in and block buying new estates

The threatened eviction of children with special needs from an apartment complex in Dublin is a shameful indictment of the government’s failed housing policy, according to Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan.

“The government lifted the ban on evictions today knowing the chaos it would cause. Currently, there are seven households in St Helen’s Court, Dun Laoghaire – including children with special needs and adults with serious illnesses – who don’t know where they will be sleeping tonight.

“Their corporate landlord is determined to evict them despite the fact the country is still operating under Level 5 restrictions – and the government is happy to stand idly by while it happens.

“REITs, Cuckoo Funds and other large institutional investors have caused immense damage to the housing sector in Ireland and should be banned from swooping in and block-buying entire estates.

“According to the Construction Industry Federation, in 2019, 95% of new apartments were sold to institutions, leaving just 5% for everyone else. Meanwhile, this week it was revealed that 435 apartments, currently under construction in Ashtown Dublin 15, have been sold to a foreign investment company.

“This distortion of the market is actively encouraged by the government, who have offered these funds favourable tax treatment.

“First-time buyers simply cannot compete with these multimillion-euro funds. An entire generation is being locked out of homeownership and forced to pay extortionate rents to investment funds which are much higher than a mortgage.
“In Germany Residential Investment Funds or REITs are banned from buying up residential property and driving up the price of homes and apartments – we should follow suit.

“Banning vulture funds from the housing sector will increase the supply available to first-time buyers who want to own their own home and take some pressure off the spiralling cost of housing. At a very minimum, their tax breaks should be scrapped.

“In the meantime, the eviction ban should be reinstated as a matter of urgency until the covid crisis has receded.”

23 April, 2021


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