Cian O'Callaghan TD

Social Democrats to introduce motion seeking a reversal of housing policies that have contributed to a collapse in home ownership levels 

The census results published today paint a disheartening picture of the struggles faced by people hoping to buy a place of their own, according to Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan.

Deputy O’Callaghan, who is the party’s housing spokesperson, said:

“In 1991, almost 80 per cent of households were homeowners – one of the highest rates in Europe. This number has fallen consistently since then and now sits at 66 per cent.

“While continuing to pay lip service to home ownership, this Government has actively pursued policies that are detrimental to people’s chances of getting a place of their own.

“Instead of putting resources into building affordable homes, the State has incentivised extortionately expensive Build to Rent schemes through sweetheart tax deals for investment funds.

“Since international investment funding for Build to Rent schemes collapsed, the Irish Strategic Investment Fund is also using hundreds of millions of public money to rescue these expensive rental-only developments.

“Only half (52 per cent) of homes built since 2016 were owner occupied with a mortgage or loan.

“Collapsing home ownership rates present a ticking timebomb. When increasing amounts of renters reach retirement age and see their incomes reduced, how will they afford Ireland’s exorbitant rents? Where will these renters go?

“We need to build homes that are genuinely affordable. We know this can be done. Organisations like Ó Cualann are building affordable homes on a not-for-profit basis at well below the market rate.

“The Government must stop throwing money at developers and instead focus on building homes that people can actually afford to buy.

“In the Dáil tomorrow (Wednesday, May 31), the Social Democrats will introduce a Private Members’ Motion calling for a reversal of Government policies that have contributed to a collapse in home ownership levels. Nothing less than a dramatic increase in the delivery of genuinely affordable purchase homes is going to solve this housing crisis.”

May 30, 2023

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