The 2022 edition of Ireland’s Housing Magazine is the first since the publication of the Government’s housing plan Housing for All. Launched in September 2021, Housing for All commits €4 billion of state funding each year to enable the supply of over 300,000 homes by 2030. This represents a significant investment in the housing sector and demonstrates how important housing is to our social and economic success. The scale and ambition of the strategy will require input from us all, given its aim of providing an optimal mix of social, affordable, and private housing both for sale and rent.
Despite a challenging global environment, significant progress has been made, thanks to the dedication of housing professionals across the country. Confidence remains high that we will achieve the housing targets set out for the year. Schemes aimed at improving housing affordability and supply are being introduced. Two affordable schemes will help people on low to moderate incomes to buy newly-built homes at below market prices, the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme and the forthcoming First Home Scheme which will be available nationwide. The Croí Cónaithe (Cities) scheme aims to increase the supply of apartments for home purchasers in our main urban centres. A new Town Centre First policy is focused on regenerating towns and converting vacant and derelict properties into homes.
Ireland’s new tenure type, cost rental, continues to expand. It is anticipated that approximately 200 new cost rental homes will be provided by the end of the summer, with more developments expected later this year. This new tenure type links the price of rents to the cost of developing and maintaining the properties. With rents at least 25 per cent below the market rate, cost rental will play an important role in improving affordability in the rental sector.
Important strides have also been made to improve social inclusion, protect society’s most vulnerable and support sustainable communities. A new National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022–2027 was launched in January 2022, and the new National Office for Housing First, located in the Housing Agency was opened in March. 2022 also saw the publication of important research on tenure mixing. Social Housing in Mixed Tenures, commissioned by The Housing Agency and the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) found that mixed tenure estates have led to the development of strong and integrated communities, with strong support for tenure mixing as a key policy.
Despite this important progress, the sector is facing challenges including supply chain issues, cost of living increases and climate change. Innovation and creative thinking will be required to surmount these challenges, meet housing needs, to provide sustainable and affordable Housing for All. For this reason, The Housing Agency is collaborating with the Irish Architecture Foundation on an initiative entitled Housing Unlocked which seeks new ideas that will improve the housing sector by challenging the status quo. In February, we launched an open call for ideas from architects, who teamed up with professionals from a variety of disciplines and members of the public, to submit ideas to solve housing issues in Ireland’s cities, towns and villages. We received an impressive range of applications, with eight shortlisted to appear in an exhibition later this year, which we hope will spark ideas, start conversations and lead to new thinking in how we deliver housing. For more information on the finalists and upcoming exhibition visit www.housingunlocked.ie.
This is my first year as Chief Executive of The Housing Agency, and in a few months, The Housing Agency will be marking its 10-year anniversary. Challenges lie ahead, but through collaboration, evidence-based solutions, and ambitious thinking, we will achieve our goal of providing secure homes and developing sustainable communities. I look forward to working with everyone in the housing community in achieving this common goal.
The Housing Agency