House prices catching Celtic Tiger figures – govt must consider Rent To Buy scheme

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
27 June 2022

Thinking outside the box to help people onto the property ladder is needed, said Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan in response to the latest housing report. As demand for housing continues to outstrip supply, Senator Moynihan said people caught in a rental trap must be supported in getting on the property ladder. 

Senator Moynihan said:

“Private profits are soaring post-pandemic whist ordinary people are struggling to get by. Household incomes are not keeping pace and the cost of living in Ireland continues to soar. Yet, house prices continue to rise. This not sustainable. It is a symptom of Ireland’s two-tier society.

“In addition to the chronic lack of supply of homes, people continue to experience increased rents and are cutting back on essentials just to keep a roof over the heads. Wages have not kept pace with the reality of living in Ireland, and the idea of saving additional money for a deposit is simply unthinkable for most renters. A Rent to Buy scheme would convert rent paid in a property over the course of three years into a deposit for the property that they would then go on to own. It would help struggling renters who simply cannot afford to build up a deposit get onto the property ladder.

“While the Census cannot provide perfect information on vacant homes, it’s clear that there are thousands of properties nationwide that are lying empty and could be brought back into use to provide a new home and new hope for people. A strong vacant homes tax would actually be able to bring former homes, including permanently empty apartments and derelict houses, back to use.

“By introducing this and improving CPO powers and funding for local authorities to repurpose empty homes, government could get more houses into supply. Our local authorities are absolutely fundamental to the delivery of housing and so they need to have robust powers to provide homes. This goes further than CPO – we need our local authorities to have the power to carry out compulsory sales orders and compulsory rental orders.

“Preliminary figures from the Census show that population growth is ahead of housing stock in almost every county. Indeed, housing stock was only up 6% on 2016. Government must commit to revising the figures in its Housing for All plan to have enough homes for people. We can’t tell another generation to emigrate. We need to support people who want to live and grow in Ireland to do so.”

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