Homeownership increasingly out of reach for most

15 September 2021

With property growth reaching a three year high of 8.6%, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said home ownership is no longer a legitimate aspiration for most people. CSO figures published today which shows property prices returning to pre-pandemic levels, Senator Moynihan said that the stamp duty changes are having little impact on investor dominance in the housing market.

Senator Moynihan said:

“While this government says home ownership is it’s priority it’s clear that their policies are having little impact on dampening down house prices. From Housing For All it is clear that they will continue to follow a developer, investor led approach, allowing for this 8.6% price growth. The Minister has failed to grasp the nettle and tackle the housing crisis through the delivery of State led social and affordable homes in the much heralded Housing for All plan. Instead, it’s more of the same tired efforts to incentivise the private market rather than the state led action needed to address the last five wasted years.

“This CSO data adds further insult to injury for anyone with an aspiration to buy their own home. Prices are up 99% nationally from the low of 2013, but prices in the city are astronomical. Private profits are soaring post-pandemic whist ordinary people are struggling to get by. Indeed, household incomes are not keeping pace and the cost of living in Ireland continues to soar. This not sustainable, and as well as driving people into homeless, it is eroding people’s morale, it is forcing them to work to barely get by, it’s another symptom of Ireland’s two-tier society.

“Budget 2022 gives the Minister yet another chance to change. A strong vacant home tax must be delivered in the Budget that will actually bring former homes and empty apartments back into use. There can be no more foot dragging on this. Examining and reviewing it is not good enough. Institutional investors can’t be allowed leave properties vacant. I welcome that the Minister is taking on board Labour’s recent proposals on the Kenny report in the form of a ‘land value sharing’ clawback of up to half the increased value of zoned land but again, implementation will be key.

“Government has had plenty of warnings. As recently as yesterday, we heard the stories of lone parents struggling to find somewhere safe and affordable to live. If these stories won’t act as impetus for change, I hope that today’s CSO figures will. We need to level the playing field when it comes to owning a home in this country. People deserve secure and affordable housing and a more ambitious public housing programme must be at the core of any housing strategy. These homes must be part of living communities within vibrant towns and villages. How many experts are needed to tell the Government what ordinary people already know?”

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