The Central Bank's mortgage rules are hitting first-time buyers in the capital worst, it has been warned, as one TD said he'd struggle to pay a loan on a starter home.
The boss of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV), Pat Davitt, told the Dail's Housing and Homelessness Committee that the rules are "disproportionately impacting" buyers in urban areas "especially in the capital".
Earlier, TDs heard from Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), who said that under the Central Bank mortgage rules the deposit for a €300,000 house would be €38,000.
Kildare North's Bernard Durkan, a Fine Gael committee member, questioned the ability of an average applicant to pay such a mortgage.
A TD's salary stands at €87,000 and Mr Durkan said that they are "well paid", but added: "I would not be able to service that type of loan... and I am sure I am not the exception."
Under the mortgage rules, a first-time buyer needs a deposit of 10pc of the first €220,000 of a property's value and 20pc of the remainder of the cost with mortgages limited to 3.5 times their income.
Mr Davitt said that the rules were "well intentioned" but are "excessive in some respects" and suggested that the loan-to-income ratio be raised to 4 or 4.5 times a buyer's income.
The director general of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), Patricia Byron, told the same meeting that this year's review of the Central Bank's mortgage rules should be "accelerated".
All three organisations said they would like to see a reduction in the VAT rate similar to the one in the hospitality industry.
The CIF and IPAV said it should go from 13.5pc to 9pc.
Dublin Fingal Labour TD Brendan Ryan asked Mr Parlon what guarantee could be given that the VAT reduction wouldn't be added to the price of a house.
Mr Parlon agreed the question of such a guarantee was "tricky" but said that in the case of the hospitality industry the finance minister has warned that there would be a "rethink" on the VAT rate if prices went up.
He said the initiative had been successful in relation to hotels.
Several TDs expressed opposition to a CIF proposal to replace rules requiring developments to include up to 10pc of units for social housing with a 1pc levy on all residential transactions.
Fianna Fail's Barry Cowen and Sinn Fein TDs Kathleen Funchion and Maurice Quinlivan all said the proportion of social housing units in developments should go up to 20pc.
Mr Parlon said that the cash raised under the proposal would have to be "entirely ring-fenced".
Separately, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive reported that there were at least 102 people sleeping rough on the city's streets on the night of April 24/25.
There were 3,777 adults in emergency accommodation in the first quarter of the year and one in five (752) was a new presentation.
Meanwhile, 22 rapid build homes in Ballymun have been allocated to families and the city council is working on delivering a further 131 units.