Housing market must respond to the needs of people not funds
- Middle and low income earners will remain priced out of market by investment funds.
- Affordable Housing Bill does nothing to support single people.
- Minister must act on his 2019 Bill that proposed to ringfence housing for first time buyers.
Labour housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan has welcomed the news that the Government will examine blocking investment funds from buying entire housing estates but cautioned that other measures are needed to address what is happening right now.
Speaking this morning, Senator Moynihan said this week has proven that their strategy for ending the housing crisis needs a rethink, one that takes into account every person in the market.
First time buyers are priced out of the market, city dwellers are forced into the commuter belt and no one is speaking about single people and their place in the market. We must have an ambitious, State supported, housing system where incentives are put in place to achieve the goal of building affordable homes.
Senator Moynihan said:
“Everyone knows that our dysfunctional housing market has let down too many people right across Ireland. This isn’t a new problem. Anyone trying to buy a home in the past number of years has experienced the desperate situation of investment funds devouring housing, locking ordinary people out of the process.
“It’s welcome news to see Government moving to heed opposition calls to block these funds, but that is just one issue that needs to be resolved and we also need action now. The Government plans would address future planning permissions but it will take fiscal measures focused on tax to halt the ongoing transactions in the market.
“We know that the private housing market has failed and home ownership is declining due to enormous cost. Rather than cosying up with the investors and corporate interests, Government must put incentives in place in the private housing market that are aligned with the goal of building homes that people can afford.
“We need mixed tenure housing developments that include home ownership alongside social and affordable housing, as long as such developments do not compromise the housing prospects of future generations. Regardless of the type of tenure, all persons should possess a degree of security of tenure which guarantees legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats. The Government talks a lot about mixed tenure and mixed income developments for houses and estates, however that’s also needed for apartment complexes. We need to embed affordability and fairness into every mix of housing in recognition of the fact that every person will have different needs.
“For example, more than 400,000 people in Ireland live alone. Yet, every time the Government talk about housing it’s based on joint incomes, it’s based on the assumption that people should aspire to couple up and it’s based on the idea that people only ever want to buy three bed semi-ds. Single people aren’t transient and single people aren’t just young. Being single isn’t just a stage of life that people should want to get out of. No housing system, or indeed economy, should be trapping people seeing marriage or relationships as economic leverage to buy a home. But this is the signal that Government is currently sending when they propose pricing caps of €500,000 on a house in Dublin. It’s degrading and disrespectful.
“Home ownership is a legitimate aspiration for all people – single or married, young or old – and we need to put in place supports for collective approaches to home ownership for low and middle income households. At the moment, every layer of our housing system is entirely dysfunctional. First time buyers continue to face huge difficulty being trapped out of negotiations as many sellers are urged to consider selling to an investment fund in the first instance meaning properties aren’t coming onto the market.
“For city dwellers that want to buy in their native or adopted communities, they find themselves priced out and forced to relocate to the commuter belt. Government policy needs to reflect that people who live in the city also want to buy in the city and stop pushing and pushing people further away from home.
“There is no easy solution to the housing crisis, but there is no doubt that the only solution is for the State to be at the forefront of actions to deliver affordable housing for all. This requires ambition, vision and determination to protect people from a private housing market that has failed us too many times. We know from our history that social and affordable housing actually works, actually delivers a roof over people’s head in communities that can grow and prosper.”