Minister Murphy publishes details of signed LIHAF projects
Mr. Eoghan Murphy, T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, today (28th March) published details in respect of 30 major public infrastructure projects which have received final approval under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), and which will enable and activate the delivery of almost 20,000 new homes across public and private sites by 2021. These projects were part of 34 projects originally given preliminary approval in March, 2017 to negotiate agreements to construct infrastructure in return for the accelerated development of housing on sites which were dormant. The first tranche of projects received final sign off in late 2017 and the final tranche in February 2018.
In welcoming the publication, the Minister acknowledged the preparatory work and negotiations needed to secure these agreements, as well as the design, planning and procurement work already advanced to deliver the enabling infrastructure.
“Local authorities have been working hard to negotiate and finalise local agreements with land owners and developers in terms of their commitment to build housing at scale from these sites by 2021 that might otherwise not have happened due to the lack of enabling infrastructure and services. We are now moving ahead quickly, servicing these sites and getting the homes built as early as possible.”
The 30 projects approved to date will provide almost 20,000 housing units by 2021 on the associated private and State-owned sites being opened up by the infrastructure. The Minister added
“Over 28% (5,600) of these 20,000 new homes will be social or affordable homes. In addition, a further 28% (5,600) homes will have a LIHAF related cost reduction and another 8,800 will be sold at market rates, greatly increasing supply and with many in locations offering very good affordability.”
“I am particularly pleased to see that 13 of these infrastructure projects will open up and support the development of publicly-owned lands held by local authorities who are planning to bring forward additional social and affordable housing on those sites, as part of mixed tenure developments.”
“Had the LIHAF funding gone directly to house building it might only have delivered less than 800 homes. But with the LIHAF model we can leverage taxpayer’s money to get a much greater quantity of social and affordable homes while also expediting the development of private sites.”
Following the completion of extensive design, planning and procurement work that local authorities have been progressing in parallel with the approval process, construction of the public infrastructure will, in most cases, start in 2018. Some of the housing will follow in tandem with the infrastructure where possible, but in some cases, residential construction will have to await the building of the infrastructure first to allow access to the site.
The Minister emphasised that the primary focus of LIHAF is to address housing supply blockages:
“The A in LIHAF is about activation – it’s about unlocking sites in and around our cities and large towns that would otherwise not be built upon due to lack of supporting infrastructure. With the limited resources available to the Exchequer, we have to spend our money wisely, picking the best projects that will deliver more housing quickly and at the scale needed. The State is committing €195 million on these 30 projects but this investment will stimulate much wider investment in developing housing on a large scale, and we will see a return on this investment in terms of cost reductions on the new homes, and many homes being made available in the next couple of years that will be targeted and priced for first-time buyers.”
The Minister went on to say: “I am fully aware that that more affordable housing is needed as well as increasing the overall supply, so on top of the Part V commitments to deliver 10% of all the homes on each site for social housing, I have ensured that local authorities have leveraged the LIHAF funding to make housing more affordable”.
“Coupled with the effect of additional supply being added to the market and a wider array of house types and price points to cater for different market segments, I expect to see tangible benefits, in terms of greater choice and more affordable prices, for those buying or renting these new homes.”
As part of Budget 2018, an additional €50 million Exchequer funding has been provided for a second LIHAF call. This will again be subject to co-funding by local authorities giving an overall fund of €66.5 million. There will be a further call for funding under LIHAF towards the end of April 2018 and it will be open to local authorities to submit new projects or resubmit projects for consideration at that time.
Four projects that had received preliminary approval are not proceeding at present as it was not possible for local authorities to secure the requisite agreements with developers. However, those Iocal authorities have been informed that these projects may be re-submitted by them for consideration for funding under LIHAF2.
This table provides further information on each of the 30 approved projects – the table will also be available to view and download on the Rebuilding Ireland website.