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Increasing Prices Show Urgent Need for Government to Play Greater Role in Housing Provision

9 May 2018

Publication cover - Charter for Housing Rights Cover image for Charter for Housing Rights

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said that as property prices continued to rise across the country there was now an urgent need for the government to take on a greater role in the provision of affordable homes.

Congress was responding to new figures from Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) latest Residential Property Price Index that showed a 12.7% rise in residential property prices across the state in the year to March.

This compares to a 12.5% rise in the year to February and 11.8% in the year to January. Overall, prices have now risen by 75% since their recession low point - and by over 90% in Dublin.

Congress General Secretary Patricia King said that Ireland was in the midst of a very real housing emergency:

“This crisis is doing untold damage to many lives and an entire generation of young workers now wonders if they will be able to afford suitable and secure accommodation.

“Clearly, a key problem is that the Government has left housing provision solely to the market and the market has failed to deliver. The National Planning Framework estimates that over half a million homes are needed over the next 20 years but Government plans to build just 33,500 new social housing units by 2021, even as official data indicates that just 780 new social housing units were built by Local Authorities last year.

“Recent research by the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) found that most individual wage earners would not meet the mortgage criteria for a one-bed apartment in Dublin and two workers in the middle of the wage distribution are priced out of the market for a three-bedroom semi-detached home, in the capital. Similarly, research by Prospectus Financial found that a Dublin worker on the average wage of €36,900 would need to save for 21 years to secure a deposit for the averaged-priced Dublin home (i.e. €325,000),” she pointed out.

“The Government must urgently take a more proactive role in housing than it has done to-date. This means building more social, affordable and cost-rental homes, as advocated in Congress’s Charter for Housing Rights.

“Housing is too important a human need to be left solely to the market,” Ms King concluded.