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Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald Targets €300,000 Housing Cost in Dublin, Faces Challenges Amid Soaring Construction Expenses

Dublin: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has outlined a key objective for her party, aiming to bring the cost of housing in Dublin down to €300,000. Speaking to the media, the opposition leader emphasised that once in government, Sinn Féin would work to implement the necessary measures to achieve this goal.

McDonald expressed concern over the “biggest political danger” in Ireland, emphasising that a generation is leaving the country due to the lack of homeownership. Currently, average house prices in Dublin hover around €430,000, according to data from the Central Statistics Office.

However, achieving the targeted price reduction faces challenges, particularly with construction costs on the rise. Research by the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) indicates that escalating costs are surpassing people’s incomes, making housing less affordable. BPFI CEO Brian Hayes noted a 23% increase in house building costs over three years, impacting all affordable housing schemes.

Despite efforts to boost housing supply, rising prices continue to outpace income growth. Research suggests a 1.4% increase in median house prices in the 12 months leading to September 2023, driven by higher construction costs.

Projections indicate that 32,000 new homes could be completed by 2024, marking the highest number since the financial crisis. However, challenges persist, with high prices putting substantial pressure on potential buyers.

Amid this backdrop, the mortgage sector remains robust, with BPFI reporting approval of almost 52,000 mortgages totaling €14.7 billion in the 12 months to October 2023. First-time buyers secured over 7,000 mortgages in the three months from July to September, the highest since 2007. Notably, planning permissions for residential units increased significantly by 43% in the third quarter, reaching 9,662, with half of them being apartments—a doubling within a year, according to research.

Given the complexity of the housing situation, achieving a reduction in prices may require policy changes, the availability of affordable construction materials, and an increase in the workforce. The challenge lies not only in promises but in the ability of political parties to deliver tangible results.

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