Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing and TD for Dublin-Fingal, Darragh O’Brien, has published a Bill which would empower local authorities to earmark residential land for the purpose of sale to first time buyers.

Deputy O’Brien said it was important to level the playing field for first time buyers and keep the dream of home ownership alive – something which has become further away for most people under the current Fine Gael Government with home ownership rates slipping to a 50 year low of 67%.

He explained, “The influx of Cuckoo Funds snapping up entire housing estates and apartment complexes continues to contribute to an unprecedented degree of competition for first time buyers.

“Their impact is also running the risk that entire neighbourhoods will become rental only. We’ve already seen this in Donabate, Balbriggan and Chivers in Coolock where entire developments are being built to rent only. While it is important that we increase our rental offering, this is damaging the fabric of our communities and driving out home owners and low-income renters.

“With this Bill we are seeking to prevent the bulk buying of entire developments by investment funds by ensuring that up to 30% of zoned land will be earmarked for first-time buyers. For example, a development of ten units would have up to three units available for first time buyers to purchase.

“The goal of the bill is to prevent the bulk buying of entire developments by investment funds thereby freezing out first time buyers.  It contains exemptions to allow Build to Rent developments that would otherwise not be built to go ahead as part of an overall housing strategy while preventing developments already in place being snapped up by investors at the last moment. This way investment in new builds will be allowed but they must be earmarked for rental only as part of an overall housing plan in appropriate areas.

“This Bill is one of a number of measures which Fianna Fáil have proposed to tackle the ever-growing housing crisis. Our affordable housing strategy marked a fundamental change in the direction of housing policy. Our proposals will increase the volume of social housing, but also increase the stock of affordable housing for those who are trying to buy their own home.

“I want to find real solutions to the housing crisis we’re in now. I will be introducing this Bill in the coming weeks in Dáil Éireann and I will be engaging with stakeholders during this process to make sure the Bill does not have an adverse effect on housing supply”, he concluded.