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New housing plan proposes reserving up to 50% of housing estates for first-time buyers

DUBLIN: A provision will be made to ensure that half of all new homes built in Ireland are reserved for first-time buyers. The Government’s new housing plan proposes that up to 50% of housing estates should be set aside for first-time buyers. It will come into effect if the amendments in this regard are approved by the Cabinet tomorrow.  

The main criticism leveled at the government’s new affordable housing scheme was that all new homes would be acquired by cuckoo funds, forcing first-time buyers to pay a higher price. The government is responding to this by reserving 50% of homes to first-time buyers. Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is set to present proposals to the Cabinet in this regard.

Last week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the housing crisis, the country’s biggest challenge, was his number one priority. The measures already announced in the Affordable Housing Bill include a Serviced Sites Fund, a Shared Equity Scheme and a Help to Buy Scheme for first-time buyers.

First buyers may get 80% of homes

Currently, 10% of such housing schemes should go to social housing and a further 10% to affordable housing. It is learned that there will be an amendment in the Housing Bill to increase this to 20%.In addition, the law will make 30% to 50% of future housing estates available only to first-time buyers. As a result, between 60 and 80 percent of new developments would be set aside for social housing, affordable housing, and first-time buyers.

The scheme also aims to deal with controversial large-scale sales performed by cuckoo funds based on population density. Prohibition of bulk-buying of estates of less than 50 houses per hectare will also be considered.

Investment trusts will be allowed to buy new apartment buildings in bulk for the purpose of renting them out. But this is not allowed in suburban housing estates such as the Mullen Park estate in Maynooth, Co Kildare.

These specific provisions will also apply to future local authority planning permissions, but not to already approved developments. It is understood that these proposed new conditions will also apply to planning permissions for new housing estates.

However, this does not apply to allowing people who want to do business or buy more expensive homes. The Department of Housing will issue a circular to the local authorities regarding such issues.

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