Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the Government have allowed a situation where so called Cuckoo Funds are squeezing first time buyers out of the housing market.

It emerged today that almost 3,000 homes were purchased by these funds in 2018.

He commented, “These institutional investors are undoubtedly drawn to Ireland by the large rents and the favourable tax environment. Every indication points towards soaring rents in the coming years. Builders also are attracted by the large funds as they only have to negotiate one deal rather than a multitude if they were to negotiate with individual purchasers.

“The Government have allowed this situation to develop on their watch and they have done precious little to stop it. We are constantly being told by Government that more and more houses are being built and that we are on the road to meeting the targets set out in the Rebuilding Ireland plan. However, there is no use building extra properties when those properties are being sucked up by institutional investors. The Government once again has taken its eye off the ball and has failed to act.

“The effect has been quite profound.  Potential first time buyers are not even getting a look in for many properties. The Central Bank rules make it very difficult for young couples and individuals, and when they have to go up against these investors, it is really a David and Goliath situation. These potential buyers then have to remain or go back into the rental sector thus pushing rents up again. It is a vicious cycle and it has to stop.

“It is certainly a challenging practice to curtail but there must be a serious look at the planning laws to compel builders to sell to first time buyers. The Government needs to assess the options within the planning laws that can restrict these funds from buying up 100% of the properties on sale for any given development.

“If we are going to do everything we can for first time buyers then we cannot allow the current trend to continue. The Government cannot permit a situation where hardworking individuals and couples who have done everything right are seeing their hope of owning a family home being trampled on by these large so called Cuckoo Funds”, concluded O’Brien.