Rebuilding Ireland’s second
Quarterly Progress Report is launched

Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, today published the second Quarterly Progress Report on implementation of Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

  • Significant progress reported on 56 specific actions to increase housing output and deal with homelessness
  • In excess of 18,000 people/families had their social housing needs met in 2016, ahead of the target of just over 17,000

  • As part of this overall delivery, we built, purchased or refurbished some 5,300 homes in 2016 – around 1,000 over the target for the year 

  • 810 people/families got new tenancies under the Homeless Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) in Dublin during 2016, exceeding the target of 550 

  • 206 additional bed spaces were made available in emergency accommodation facilities in Dublin in December 2016, meaning that sufficient beds are available for all who currently need them

As committed to under Rebuilding Ireland, the Department has developed a Monthly Housing Activity Report, the first monthly report is also published today, which charts current activity levels across five key statistical indicators:

  • Planning permissions (published quarterly)
  • Residential commencements (monthly)
  • Residential completions (monthly)
  • Residential Property Price Index (monthly)
  • Residential Rent Price Index(quarterly).

The indicators confirm that the upward trend in housing activity evident in recent times is gaining momentum and, having regard to wider economic growth projections and the increasing level of planning permissions in particular, should continue to gather pace and result in higher levels of output in 2017 and beyond.   

  • Planning permissions were granted for over 16,000 new homes in the year to end September 2016 (an increase of 45% on the preceding 12 months)
  • Commencement Notices for 13,234 new homes were submitted in the year up to end December 2016, an increase of 51% year on year
  • 14,932 new homes completed during 2016, an increase of 18% on 2015 (12,666)

Minister Coveney welcomed the publication of the second Progress Report, as approved yesterday by the Cabinet Committee on Housing and Homelessness, chaired by An Taoiseach, saying:

“The success of Rebuilding Ireland will be measured by delivery in terms of providing homes and choice for our people. This report charts the progress to date on delivering key actions that has been made by departments, agencies, local authorities and approved housing bodies, in collaboration with industry and housing sector stakeholders. The actions and measures taken are starting to have the desired effect and the output indicators in terms of social housing and housing more broadly are positive. While we started from a low base the trajectory is upward and I will continue to drive it in that direction. I want to thank all concerned for responding so early and so proactively to the call to get behind the Rebuilding Ireland programme so that we deliver the social, private and rental housing at affordable prices that people expect and deserve. Later this week I will publish a comprehensive  list of  social housing projects which are at various stages of progress.”

The report documents the progress made on 56 specific actions during the final quarter of 2016 of which 47 are complete or on schedule. Of the nine actions, which are incomplete or behind schedule, all are being advanced and will be completed in the near future.

The Minister commented:

“The progress report is very encouraging and records some significant early achievements and progress. We’ve taken concerted action to deliver on the priority objectives in relation to addressing homelessness. The Dublin Region HAP homeless pilot is delivering ahead of target as is the social housing programme overall and people and families have safe and secure homes.”

Key developments reported include:

  • 18,380 social housing supports provided to people in 2016, with expenditure of €935 million on housing during the year. This exceeded the target of 17,240 for 2016, giving a very positive start to the challenge of meeting the ambitious targets in Rebuilding Ireland.
  • The Housing Assistance Payment Homeless pilot (HAP) in Dublin has seen the creation of 810 stable and supported housing tenancies for homeless individuals by Q4 of 2016 (significantly exceeding the target of 550 tenancies).
  • HAP was introduced to nine further local authorities with effect from 1 December 2016: Cavan, Kerry, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow and 12,075 HAP tenancies were set-up in 2016, meeting the scheme’s target for the year and offering an extra choice for people and families in need of social housing.
  • At the end of 2016, a total of 350 rapid build homes were advancing through various stages of delivery, including construction, with 22 rapid build homes already delivered and occupied in 2016.
  • The Office of Government Procurement’s Rapid Delivery Procurement Framework Agreement is now in place, paving the way for the provision of 1,500 homes during 2017 and 2018 suitable for families presenting as homeless. This will also support the ending of the reliance on commercial hotels for such families by mid-2017.
  • The Mortgage to Rent scheme has been reviewed and new improved and streamlined arrangements will facilitate more households in long-term arrears to remain in their homes.
  • Three new and one upgraded Emergency Accommodation facilities were delivered in December 2016, which provide an additional 206 bed spaces for those who badly need them, particularly during the cold weather spells.
  • In terms of increasing housing supply, 23 Major Urban Housing Development Sites (MUHDS) with the capacity to deliver 30,000 new homes in the medium term have been identified in the Greater Dublin Area, Cork, Limerick and Galway by DHPCLG, in close collaboration with local authorities and the Department’s new Housing Delivery Office for accelerated delivery.
  • Applications for the €200m Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Funding (LIHAF) from 21 local authorities, covering 74 separate infrastructure projects have been received and funding decisions will be announced in March 2017.
  • The Strategy for the Rental Sector, published on 13 December 2016, is a major milestone in providing a vision and coordinated plan for the development of a stable, strong and viable rental sector, offering clarity, security, true choice for households, investment opportunities for providers and reflecting the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.
  • Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) have been introduced to give rent predictability with Dublin and Cork City designated before Christmas under the 2016 Act and more recently further designations in local electoral areas in Galway City, Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Cork County. As of the end of January, approximately 55% of all tenancies are covered. Further, specific designations can be made if and when areas meet the criteria. This will ease rental pressure as supply catches up.
  • The Help to Buy Incentive Scheme, announced by the Minister for Finance in Budget 2017, is already encouraging an increasing supply of new homes. Until 31 December 2019, first-time buyers taking out a mortgage to purchase or self-build their home, can claim a refund of income tax and DIRT paid over the previous four tax years, up to a maximum amount of €20,000. This will create realisable demand and will encourage developers to increase new housing supply.
  • In order to streamline housing delivery, the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, enacted on 23 December 2016, provides for large-scale housing development proposals to be submitted directly to An Bord Pleanála, while also enabling other important streamlining of the planning processes and new rent predictability measures under the Rental Strategy.