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26 Jun 2022

Minister claims measures to increase home ownership in Offaly are working

Minister claims measures to increase home ownership in Offaly are working

Minister claims measures to increase home ownership in Offaly are working

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has claimed measures to increase home ownership have having an impact in Offaly.

He published a progress update on the planning measures introduced one year ago to increase home ownership and restrict the practice of bulk purchasing by institutional investors.

The Minister claims that this report shows that 120 residential units in Offaly have been ring-fenced for individual buyers and restricted from bulk buying or multiple sales to a single purchaser. 

While these measures have increased the number of units available to buy for individuals, families and couples, locally people are still running into issues securing finance, partially due to rising costs.

A Valuemyhome report issued this week shows that Offaly saw a 34% jump from €170,000 to €227,000 in average house prices, effectively locking a high number of people on lower incomes out of the housing market.

However, Minister O'Brien still claimed this week that the measures he intorduced a year ago are having an impact.

In May 2021, Ministerial Guidelines for Planning Authorities (“Regulation of Commercial Institutional Investment in Housing”) were issued to planning authorities, including Offaly County Council in order to prevent multiple housing and duplex units being sold to a single buyer. 

The Guidelines included requirements that a new form of condition be inserted in applicable new planning permissions, to the effect that all houses would have to be made available for sale and for first occupation by separate, individual households for a period of two years after completion of the home. (In the case of mixed developments, the provision only applies to the houses and duplex units and not apartments.); exempts housing to be provided for social or affordable purposes from this requirement;  and if, after a period of two years, the local authority is satisfied that despite reasonable efforts, a market has not emerged, the condition will lapse.

As of May 18, 2022, An Bord Pleanála advised that it had applied the planning condition prohibiting multiple sales to a total of 7,988 residential units across 23 Strategic Housing Development (SHD) planning permissions. Furthermore, of the 31 local authorities, 23 confirmed that they have permitted 7,895 residential units with a condition attached to prohibit multiple sales. Among these, Offaly County Council permitted 120 residential units with a condition attached to prohibit multiple sales.

Nationally, in a one-year period, a combined total of 15,883 homes have received planning permission with conditions restricting the bulk buying or multiple sales to a single purchaser, a statement from the Department of Housing pointed out.

The statement continued: "The Ministerial Planning Guidelines are part of a series of Government measures designed to prohibit the bulk buying of houses and duplexes in order to increase housing stock for home ownership. Other measures include a 10% stamp duty levy on the cumulative purchase of 10 or more residential houses in a 12 month period."

Commenting on the data, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said: “The Government is committed to supporting homeownership. These data demonstrate that we are making the right interventions and delivering for those in Offaly who wish get to get on the property ladder. Through our plan, Housing for All, we are taking every possible measure to increase supply and provider greater access to homeownership for those who want it."

Last year, the Government gave further legislative effect to the Regulation of Commercial Institutional Investment in Housing guidelines. The requirement, an action under Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan to 2030, requires Offaly County Council and all other local authorities to ensure home ownership as a tenure type is provided for and estimated in their Housing Strategies.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will continue to monitor the operation of the Planning Guidelines on the Regulation of Commercial Institutional Investment in Housing.

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