The programme for government says it will put “affordability at the heart of the housing system”. This bold statement needs very close scrutiny, because the cost of housing in Ireland, particularly in or close to cities, is out of control.
In reality, for many it is not the availability of housing that is causing distress, it is the cost, as high prices and rents have an impact on disposable income, the ability to save, to make provisions for pensions, childcare and further education. High accommodation costs also have an impact on wage demands, labour mobility and national competitiveness.
The outgoing Government’s housing strategy, Rebuilding Ireland, was launched four years ago. At the time, fewer than 10,000 new homes were being built annually and the median sales price was €250,000 nationally. The Department of Housing introduced a series of policy initiatives to improve developer “viability”.
These were first aimed at “price
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