Director General of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Tom Parlon, has appeared before the joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness, alongside housebuilding members of the CIF.
The CIF welcomes the Committee’s focus on the significant challenges around housing and homelessness and aims to provide the committee with solutions to these problems.
Housing supply in Ireland has reached a crisis point, with less than half the required demand being built per annum. Affordable housebuilding is currently unviable due to high construction costs. As long as this shortage of new homes continues, rental costs and house price inflation will prevail and this will ultimately increase the number of people seeking social housing.
CIF urges the Committee to look at how these costs can be reduced to allow first time buyers secure a home. Recommendations presented to the joint Committee by the CIF to alleviate the crisis include:
-A Help to Buy Scheme for first time buyers
-A reduction in building VAT to 9%
-Local property tax to replace Development Levies
-Changes to 7 year Capital Gaines Tax Exemption
-Review of the Central Bank mortgage lending rules
-Greater focus on urban regeneration
-The statutory footing of the Construction Industry Register of Ireland (CIRI)
Additionally, significant investment in infrastructure, such as roads, schools, broadband and water infrastructure is necessary to coincide with solving the housing crisis. Without this investment, if we build the 25,000 homes required to meet Ireland’s needs, we risk building isolated islands of housing that are not economically or socially viable in future.
Finally, there is a market failure in access to finance for small and medium house builders and this must be addressed particularly if we are to see regional house building outside the Greater Dublin Area in the coming decade.