Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Written Answers. - Local Authority Housing.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 294 Next Page Last Page

 394. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  the average price of a basic three bedroomed semi-detached house in each local authority area in the country; the location at which it is possible to acquire such a home through the local authority annuity or shared ownership loan system; his intentions to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24270/02]

[1149]

 398. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  if he will authorise an increase in the maximum shared ownership and annuity loan through Kildare County Council to facilitate first time home buyers who cannot acquire a home under the current maximum loan of ?130,000, in view of the fact that the minimum price of a home in the area is ?190,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24275/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen I propose to take Questions Nos. 394 and 398 together.

My Department does not have data on average prices for three bedroom semi-detached houses on the basis sought in the question. However, information on overall average house prices in respect of the five cities and the country as a whole, is published on a quarterly and annual basis in my Department's housing statistics bulletin, copies of which are available in the Oireachtas Library. The Department has issued a request for tenders for a new computer system which will expand the range of data collected and analysed on house prices, and this system is expected to be implemented during the course of 2003.

With regard to the acquisition of houses in different local authority areas through shared ownership or local authority annuity loans, I would point out that the implementation and management of the shared ownership scheme is, in the first instance, a matter for each housing authority concerned. In operating the scheme, local authorities should have regard to local circumstances in determining maximum price limits or any other conditions they believe appropriate. These issues are best determined by the individual local authorities.

The objective of the shared ownership scheme is to enhance housing affordability by allowing applicants to purchase part only of the equity of the dwelling (at least 40%) and to rent the remaining share from the local authority. The present maximum loan of €130,000 operated by local authorities for the purposes of the shared ownership scheme would on this basis enable the purchase of houses exceeding present average prices, subject to the ability of applicants to manage the mortgage and rented commitments involved.

The maximum annuity loan of €130,000 also allows allow significant numbers of low income households to purchase their own homes. However, my Department is keeping the loan limits that apply to local authority house purchase loans, including annuity, affordable and shared ownership under review.

 395. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  the likely number of housing starts in respect of family homes anticipated through the various local authorities in 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24272/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen I anticipate that there [1150] will be some increase in the level of local authority housing starts next year. However, a precise estimate cannot appropriately be made at this stage pending detailed end-2002 returns from the local authority housing programme and the making of allocations to local authorities for 2003.

 396. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  the number of persons living in rented accommodation throughout the country; if this figure corresponds with a combination of those on local authority housing waiting lists and those in rental accommodation not on the housing lists but unable to purchase a home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24273/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen The only reliable source of data on the number of persons living in rented accommodation throughout the country is the housing module contained in the census of population conducted by the Central Statistics Office every ten years. The most recent such data is contained in the 1991 census. The CSO has not yet analysed the housing data from the 2002 census forms.

It is provisionally estimated that about 25,000 of the 48,413 households assessed as in need of local authority housing in the March 2002 local authority social housing needs assessment are residing in the private rented sector. There is no data available on the number of people living in the private rented sector who are not on the waiting lists and are unable to purchase a home. There are, of course, people residing in the private rented sector who would be in a position to purchase a home but do not choose to do so.

 397. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  his plans to address the serious housing shortage affecting first-time home seekers who are unable to access the market for a variety of reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24274/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen The Government's strategy to increase housing supply has delivered record levels of overall housing output in successive years, enabling us to meet demand and improve affordability, particularly for first-time purchasers. There is clear evidence that this strategy is proving effective. Total new house completions in 2001 was over 52,600 units, an increase of 5.6% on 2000 and the seventh consecutive year of record housing output. The indications available to me suggest that new housing output will be in or around record figures again this year.

Our approach has included the major expansion of both the local authority and voluntary housing programmes. Significant progress has been made in delivering NDP social housing tar[1151] gets with local authority housing output of over 5,000 units in 2001, which was the highest level in 15 years. Local authorities built 1,468 new houses in the first 6 months of this year, an increase of 13% on the corresponding period in 2001, and I expect their output to reach its highest level for sixteen years in 2002. The voluntary housing sector is playing an increasingly significant role in the provision of social housing with output in 2001 of some 1,250 units, the highest level ever recorded. Activity is also increasing significantly under the affordable housing and shared ownership schemes.

In addition, we remain committed to the implementation of major reforms in the private rented residential sector, arising from the recommendations of the report of the commission on the private rented residential sector. These reforms should facilitate the development of a better managed and more professional private rented sector.

The Government remains committed to continuing with measures initiated in our previous term to increase the supply of housing and bring moderation to the rate of house price increases, including increasing investment in the provision of serviced land for housing and more effective use of that land through improved planning guidelines on residential densities. We will continue to progress these measures while reviewing policies as necessary to ensure that we meet projected housing demand going forward.

Question No. 398 answered with Question No. 394.


Last Updated: 01/09/2015 09:43:09 First Page Previous Page Page of 294 Next Page Last Page