Taoiseach and Minister Murphy turn sod on affordable scheme in Cork

First project supported under the Serviced Site Fund

2,000 new affordable homes will be available by end 2020

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, and the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy T.D today (16th November 2019) officially turned the sod on a new affordable housing scheme in Boherboy, Co Cork, the first such scheme to be delivered under the Serviced Site Fund. By the end of next year, 2,000 new affordable homes will be available nationwide in developments which have been subsidised by the Government.

The Boherboy project will see the development of 153 homes in total. There will be 116 new energy efficient affordable homes available to buy; 24 Two Bedroom Homes and 92 Three Bedroom Units, as well as a crèche on site. The houses are expected to be ready by this time next year. In addition, a portion of the site is being made available for 37 apartments which will be used for social housing.

This housing development is being made possible thanks to a grant of almost €5 million under the Serviced Site Scheme, which is operated by the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government. The Scheme is designed to fund the servicing of the site, including upgrades to the nearby road network and local drainage services, which helps make the homes more affordable. The houses on this site will range in price from €198,000 to €223,000.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:

The supply of new homes is steadily increasing all the time; we now expect about 22,000 new homes will be built this year and more than 50,000 new homes have been built over the last 3 years. As supply increases, we need to ensure we have new housing of all forms – home to buy, homes to rent, social housing for people on the housing list and, of course, subsidised affordable housing. We set up the Serviced Site Fund to increase the supply of affordable housing schemes and these are now becoming a reality around the country. By the end of next year, 2,000 new affordable homes in developments subsidised by the Government – will be available, and that will ramp up further in the years ahead.

In launching the project Minister Murphy said “The financial support provided by Government will allow the deliver at homes on this site at prices which range from 198,000 to 223,000.This project today is a real example of how the Government is delivering and helping people achieve the dream of home ownership.

The Government has initiated a number of supporting instruments such as the Local Infrastructure Housing Affordable Fund (LIHAF) and the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) to help fund the cost of public infrastructure to ensure that more affordable housing development can take place on key sites in urban areas of high demand.  The Minister noted that “The grant funding for the LIHAF and Serviced Sites Fund, which cumulatively amounts to over 500m, is helping to open up sites both in private and in local authority ownership – providing for the delivery of much needed affordable homes, for purchase and rent, in areas where prices are challenging for lower to middle-income earners.  By the end of 2020, some 2,000 more affordable and cost reduced homes will have been added to the housing stock. Funding is in place and projects being developed to ensure a significant escalation in affordable housing output over the coming years.

Local authorities are embracing supports offered by Government by making the best use of the available funding to open up residential lands in their efforts to deliver new, affordable homes. The Minister said Funding the delivery of affordable homes in areas where the affordability challenge is most pronounced is not an issue. There is a budget of 310m in the Serviced Sites Fund, aimed at supporting the delivery of 6,200 homes. 127m has been allocated to date. The remainder – 187m remains available to the end of 2021 to support local authorities in delivering affordable housing plans.  A further Call for Proposals will issue next year.  Working together, the government and the local authority sector are now beginning to see real progress on the ambition to deliver housing in our urban center at prices people can better afford.

The Minister also remarked that these interventions constitute just one part of a comprehensive programme to support the delivery of discounted homes and noted that Together with other complementary and targeted affordability measures under Rebuilding Ireland, the delivery of affordable homes will have a really positive impact on the availability of affordable housing.

Finally, the Minister acknowledged that the progress demonstrated does not diminish the need to continue to work with local authorities in supporting them with their delivery of discounted and affordable homes to buy and rent. There is still a lot to do, but the Minister concluded by saying he was encouraged both in terms of the ambition and scope of how projects were developing, and in terms of local authorities willingness to put their own resources to work to play their part in delivering affordable homes.