Minister Murphy Announces Housing Budget

Published on Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017
Minister Eoghan Murphy

 

  • €1.9billion - 46% increase in housing budget for 2018
  • Housing needs of 25,500  families to be met in 2018
  • €500million extra to support new target of 50,000 homes for those on social housing waiting lists
  • Targeting 3,000 exits from homelessness in 2018
  • Range of measures on vacancy including increase in Vacant Site Levy.
  •  €75m for new affordable housing initiatives

Housing Delivery

  • In Budget 2018, the total funding provision of €1.9 billion is an increase of 46% over 2017 and it will allow us to meet the social housing needs of 25,500 households.   A large element – €1.14 billion – is for the delivery of almost 5,900 social homes through a range of construction (5,000) and acquisition (900) programmes.
  • The balance of the funding will add additional tenancies – and maintain existing ones - through HAP, RAS and long-term leasing.  It will also fund other important housing supports and services in relation to homelessness, regeneration and programmes to upgrade existing housing (energy efficiency improvements, adaptation grants, housing for Travellers, pyrite, etc).
  • An allocation of €301 million (+€149m on 2017) for the Housing Assistance Payment which will enable a further 17,000 households to be accommodated, as well as support the 32,000 existing HAP tenancies.
  • Funding of €134 million will support a further 600 new transfers under the Rental Accommodation Scheme and also the ongoing cost of 19,900 households supported under the scheme;
  • The following is a breakdown of Social Housing Targets for 2018.
    Delivery Method 2018 Targets
    Build 4,969
    Acquisitions 900
    Long Term Leasing 2,000
    RAS & HAP 17,600
    Total 25,469

Addressing Homelessness

  • In relation to services for homelessness, an allocation of €116 million (+€18m on 2017) for Homelessness will address that the increased demand for emergency homeless services and will assist in supporting homeless households with long-term and sustainable housing solutions.
  • In 2018, more than 3,000 exits from emergency accommodation are expected through the provision of social homes and the Housing Assistance Payment.
  • Arising from the roll out of the Family Hub programme, which were allocated €45 million in 2017, the additional €18 million which is provided in 2018, will support the wrap around and running costs of the Hubs.

Affordability

  • The Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund will be supported by an allocation of €60 million in 2018.  The Fund will provide enabling infrastructure on key sites to open up lands for early development and has the potential to release the delivery of at least 20,000 new homes by 2021.   At least 10% (or 2,000) of these new homes will be social housing (through Part V) with additional social housing to be provided on certain State-owned sites. The majority of the 34 sites being opened up will have a proportion of housing available at under €320,000 and bespoke arrangements on affordability are being reached in relation to the remaining sites to ensure a proportionate dividend for the public investment being made;
  • A second LIHAF infrastructure fund of €50m will unlock even more sites, more quickly, and at affordable prices.  Through a second tranche as well as targeting funding towards servicing local authorities sites that can be offered at nominal prices to AHBs to provide affordable housing are both clear examples of the Government’s focus on bridging the affordability gap for those that do not qualify for social housing supports but who are under pressure to find homes to rent or buy at their current income levels.
  • In addition, €25 million is to be provided (€15m in 2018) to provide infrastructure and services (e.g. roads and paths, water connection, street lighting etc) on local authority-owned sites in Dublin to facilitate the delivery of affordable housing to help households facing the greatest challenge with affordability and to create mixed tenure communities;
  • Home Building Finance Ireland will provide finance at commercially competitive rates to developers with sites ready to go but who are experiencing difficulty in obtaining funding
  • Last week Minister Murphy announced a move to new planning guidelines to allow for more affordable apartment development for our city centres, like the removal of the car parking space requirement, a significant cost.

Vacancy and Urban Renewal

  • Linked to the priority to bring vacant homes and derelict/under-used premises back into use, particularly in the centres of our cities and larger towns, a multi-annual urban renewal fund is being created, on a competitive bid basis with local authority contributions, to act as a catalyst, for local authorities, in partnership with other State organisations, local communities and the private sector. This programme will identify projects/initiatives to regenerate and revitalise depopulated urban areas and facilitate more compact and community-focused growth, as highlighted in the draft National Planning Framework.
  • With €50m allocated over the four years to 2021 (€10m in 2018), and taking account of an additional minimum 20% contribution from LAs, the funding will be targeted at a number of local authority-led projects which will deliver on a number of key policies such as facilitating homes in existing buildings, in renovating derelict properties and improving the public realm through enhanced community amenities and services.
  • Funding of €32 million has been earmarked in 2018 for the Repair and Leasing Scheme, with the potential to deliver 800 vacant properties for social housing;   Under the Buy and Renew and Repair and Lease Schemes, as well as the broader acquisitions programme being managed by the Housing Agency, we have funding available to see over 1,000 vacant homes being occupied by social housing recipients, as well as encouraging vacant property owners to renovate their properties for rental use, through for example HAP tenancies.
  • The vacant site levy will double to 7%. The 3% levy becomes a liability this January. If land owners on the register fail to build next year, then on 1 January 2019, their liability from that point on will increase to 7%. If they continue to hoard that land through 2019, then they will end up with an effective liability of 10% over 2018 and 2019 combined.

Other important housing delivery and supports

  • Other important housing delivery and supports that will be funded through the increased resources under Budget 2018 include:
  • Funding of €12 million (+€3m on 2017) will support a range of Traveller specific accommodation schemes and deliver 110 homes in 2018;
  • €30 million (+€8m on 2017) will fund the remediation of a further 430 houses affected by pyrite;
  • A further 9,000 social homes will be improved through the energy efficiency programme in 2018 through funding of €25 million (+€3m on 2017);
  • €22 million (+€5m on 2017) will support the expansion of the Mortgage to Rent Scheme and will allow for a further 250 transactions under the AHB scheme;
  • Exchequer funding for housing adaptation grants will be increased to €53 million (+€5 million on 2017). This will enable up to 11,000 home adaptations to be undertaken facilitating people with disabilities and older people to continue to live in their own homes;

The National Regeneration programme will be supported through funding of €61 million (+€5m on 2017) targeting some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities;

  • Funding of €7.2 million (+€2m on 2017) will support the operational costs of the Housing Agency during 2018 and will ensure that the Agency is resourced to carry out its commitments under the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.
  • Very importantly, the Residential Tenancies Board will be supported through a provision of €7 million in 2018 (+€5m on 2017).  The increased funding reflects the expanded role of the agency and commitments under the Strategy for the Rental Sector, including increased rented accommodation inspections, which will ultimately facilitate a targeted annual inspection level of 25% of rented units by 2021, meaning all rental properties should be inspected once every 4 years.

Water Services

  • €170m is being provided in 2018.
  • €20m is being provided for the Rural Water Programme, which provides for increased investment in the rural water sector.
  • Funding is provided for the revenue shortfall from the suspension/abolition of domestic water charges. €114m of this cost is being provided in 2017 and 2018 through the Department’s Vote with the balance already reflected in the subvention provided through the Local Government Fund (some €239m is required on an annual basis to meet the abolition of water charges).
  • Funding is also provided to support initiatives on environmental and public health compliance in the water sector.
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