| 5.3°C Dublin

€230k three-beds for couples in SF's state land housing scheme

Close

Sinn Féin spokesperson for housing Eoin Ó Broin

Sinn Féin spokesperson for housing Eoin Ó Broin

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Sinn Féin spokesperson for housing Eoin Ó Broin

Couples with a combined income of €85,000 would be able to buy a new three-bedroom home for €230,000 under an affordable housing scheme proposed by Sinn Féin.

The initiative aimed at first-time buyers will also allow a single person with a gross income of €55,000 to buy a house for the same price.

However, under the proposed scheme being launched today, the land the houses are built on would be owned by the State

This means that anyone who buys one of these homes would not be allowed to rent the house and would only be allowed to sell it back to another buyer seeking a property through the scheme.

Homes sold under the scheme can be passed on to family members, but the same rules will apply to those who inherit the property.

Although the initiative would be focused principally on first-time buyers, it would also be available to second-time buyers who lost their homes due to a breakdown in a relationship or repossession.

People seeking to trade up because their family size has increased but are trapped in negative equity properties would also be able to apply.

Sinn Féin estimates it could build 8,000 affordable homes next year, with 4,000 available for purchase and the other half set aside for an affordable rental scheme.

The houses would be built on state land serviced by local authorities before being sold to people who apply to the scheme.

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said research shows houses can be built for €160,000 less when private developers are eliminated.

Expensive

"This scheme removes all the costs associated with private development such as land costs, expensive financing and high developer margins," Mr Ó Broin told the Herald.

"The plan will result in a new layer of housing in the market, which will be available to people of a particular income."

The party is also proposing increasing the affordable and social housing budget next year by €1.5bn to €2.8bn.

Separately, Social Justice Ireland director Dr Seán Healy, speaking in advance of the launch of the think tank's briefing on Budget Choices 2021, called for a progressive Budget.

"Budget 2021 should be socially progressive and promote well-being," he said.

"This is key to a fair and inclusive recovery as we learn to live in a Covid-19 world."

Among its housing proposals is that property owners and local authorities must be incentivised to bring vacant homes and sites back into use.

In addition, it said the Government should seek to emulate best practice in other European countries and increase social housing to 20pc of all housing stock. It is currently 9pc.

The body also urged a rethink on construction.

"We should be looking at smaller-scale, socially-advantageous construction projects with higher work intensity," Dr Healy said.

"Local projects inject much- needed revenue into towns and cities and support regional development.

"Because they are small-scale, there is greater flexibility to scale up or down, depending on available funding, and that funding is more readily available at low interest through EU Green Deal mechanisms."

While developing a thriving economy is essential, it cannot be delivered without simultaneously working to provide decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability, Social Justice Ireland said.