Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has called on the Government to bring forward legislation for the establishment of the Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) announced in last October’s budget.

His comments follow the publication from the Central Statistics Office that house prices have increased by 13 per cent for the year to February 2018.

Deputy McGrath commented, “Both my Party and I have been raising the cost of finance for the construction sector for some time now and it is deeply frustrating that the Government have not to date taken any tangible steps in tacking it. Without competitively priced finance being available, affordable homes will not be built in the private market.

“The main pillar banks typically lend no more than 60 – 65% of the cost of a residential development at present at a cost of 4 – 6%. The remaining finance must come from international private equity funds who can charge interest rates well in excess of 10%. Expensive finance is passed straight on to the home buyer and is resulting in affordability going beyond a growing number of people.

“In the Budget last year, the Government announced a new €750 million Home Building Finance Ireland fund that would provide low cost finance to builders. This was followed up by another press release in January from the Minister lauding the fact the government had approved the drafting of a Bill. Six months on from the Budget, there is still no sign of the legislation. Yet again this morning we saw another report from the Government mentioning the HBFI.

“Despite the worsening housing crisis, the Government have shown very little urgency on this issue. We were told in January that this legislation was a priority, yet here we are halfway through April and still no sign of it. At this point one must question whether this legislation will be completed and enacted by the summer recess.

“If the Government truly believes this Bill is a priority they will publish it without delay. Fianna Fáil will continue to raise this issue until this issue is fully tackled.”