Housing Numbers: And why they matter

Earlier this week the government published its first annual Housing for All update. The accompanying headline announced that the plan was “on track” to exceed the 2022 target for new homes delivery.

So, why is this important?

The objective of this initiative is: ‘Everyone in the State should have access to a home to purchase or rent at an affordable price, built to a high standard and in the right place, offering a high quality of life.’ It is a bold ask. The country needs it to succeed but success is far from guaranteed (or even likely). Housing for All is the delivery plan that the government has committed to until 2030, which means all policy decisions refer back to this plan and will continue to refer to this plan until something changes. Bluntly, if the plan is wrong, then all supporting policy decisions will be wrong and this is a huge threat to the housing market.

By way of a quick reminder, the plan commits to the delivery of an average of 33,000 new homes per year, each year, until and including 2030. This figure is to include social housing, affordable purchase, cost rental homes and private homes.

In the first three quarters of this year 20,807 new homes have been completed, which is a slight increase on the 20,560 delivered in 2021, but falls short of the total 2022 target of 24,600 new homes – perhaps a further 4,000 new homes will be delivered before the end of the year. But what about next year? Politically, that is looking like next year’s problem… 

According to the government report, despite the impact of cost inflation and the war in Ukraine, apartment completions in Q3 2022 increased year-on-year by over 153 percent and there continues to be a “strong pipeline”. Building started on almost 21,000 new homes in the first nine months of the year and in the first six months of the year, planning permissions were granted for 19,837 homes.

Action initiatives introduced under Housing For All include: the First Home Scheme, Cost Rental scheme, an extension of the Help to Buy Scheme to the end of 2024, the introduction of a Ready to Build scheme through the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) and Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Funds, and the LDA’s Project Tosaigh Scheme. While all of these initiatives are intended to stimulate and/or accelerate the delivery of much-needed new homes, industry reaction has been mixed, at best. Time will tell.

Arguably, challenges in the housing market right now are greater than the government’s ability to deal with them. On the positive side, there is an acknowledgement of the need to reduce the cost of construction and to make our planning system more transparent and user-friendly. Taking these two issues seriously and successfully addressing them would go a long way towards supporting the industry on the ground to deliver. Year 1 of a decade-long plan is not enough to judge, perhaps Year 2 will move the needle. 

Ian Lawlor
086 3625482

Managing Director 
Lotus Investment Group