Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Barry Cowen has said that the inability of the Government to cut through the red tape associated with housing construction and planning will lead to an entire generation never realising their ambitions of owning their own homes.
Deputy Cowen was commenting after the most recent Daft.ie report which shows that house prices continue to soar with a 4.3% increase recorded in the average house price in the first three months of the year.
Despite many announcements, pronouncements, plans, strategies and wishful thinking, Fine Gael has failed to rise to the task, and deal with a housing market that is dangerously close to pricing out average income earners in this country.
“At present, a single person earning the national average salary of €45,042 will be unable to buy a home marketed at the national average of €230,000 based on the traditional 3.5 times salary to loan ratio.
“25,000 homes need to be built every year, including 10,000 in Dublin to meet existing demand. In 2016, less than half that, with an even poorer return in Dublin, were realised.
“The Government cannot rely on wishful thinking, and glossy action plans to build the houses that are so desperately needed.
“The Government, to date, have failed to cool down the housing market by ensuring that those wishing to build private housing can do so in a sustainable way.
“All too often, developers will cite the high costs associated with planning and meeting regulations as one of the reasons why house prices are increase.
“Last November, Minister Coveney agreed to an independent review of building costs. This needs to be finalised as quickly as possible.
“Unless the Government commits to reducing this burden, and also commits to increasing its own construction of public housing, those in the 20s and 30s will never have the option of owning their own home.
“Housing is now one of the biggest issues affecting our country. It requires a new way of thinking, with radical changes to legislation, to enable both public and private housing construction to increase to meet demand and slow the now all too familiar surges in prices.
“This is the legacy of Fine Gael in office, and it’s one that will leave lasting damage across the whole country, unless a radical change in direction is delivered,” concluded Cowen.