Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor says the Government needs to introduce measures to tackle the hoarding of residential land to help alleviate the growing housing crisis.
Senator Murnane O’Connor made the comments after raising the issue in the Seanad. The Fianna Fáil Senator has obtained information which shows that 418 sites zoned for residential development in Carlow have been sold by NAMA, but construction is only under way at 27 sites. This means that developers are hoarding residentially zoned land at 391 locations in County Carlow.
“The figures in the Government’s social housing construction report suggest that fewer than 800 new social homes will be constructed in 2017. This simply isn’t good enough considering the Government’s own plan points out that 5,000 new social homes are needed in 2017 alone,” explained Senator Murnane O’Connor.
“We are clearly in the midst of a deepening housing crisis. The problem is no longer confined to Dublin and other large urban areas. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find adequate accommodation in right across Carlow. The shortage of supply is driving up the cost of renting to such an extent that suitable accommodation is becoming ever more unaffordable for families.
“The Government strategy seems to be to rely almost exclusively on the private rental market to provide all social housing through the Housing Assistant Payment and Rent Supplement. This is exacerbating the housing crisis as it is reducing the availability of rental accommodation. The only solution is for the Government to build more affordable and social housing. However the Government has failed to deliver on this to date.
“Fianna Fáil recently obtained new information directly from NAMA which shows that it has sold land since 2011 which is zoned residential and has the capacity for over 50,000 new houses or apartments. However just 7% of potential units are actually under construction on these lands. It seems that private developers are sitting on the land and waiting for house prices to increase before stating construction. This problem urgently needs to be addressed.
“Land hoarding is clearly holding back supply. The Government should implement a new Site Tax to encourage the use of empty sites. Developers should be penalised should they decide to sit on residentially zoned land and wait for land and house prices to increase further.”