New data shows measures to increase home ownership are working

The Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, has published a progress update on the planning measures he introduced 1 year ago to increase home ownership and restrict the practice of bulk purchasing by institutional investors. It demonstrates that almost 16,000 residential units have been ring-fenced for individual buyers and restricted from bulk buying or multiple sales to a single purchaser.

In May 2021, Ministerial Guidelines for Planning Authorities (“Regulation of Commercial Institutional Investment in Housing”) were issued to planning authorities, in order to prevent multiple housing and duplex units from being sold to a single buyer.

The Guidelines included requirements that a new form of condition be inserted in applicable new planning permissions, to the effect that:

  • all houses would have to be made available for sale and for the first occupation by separate, individual households for a period of 2 years after completion of the home. (In the case of mixed developments, the provision only applies to the houses and duplex units and not apartments.);
  • exempts housing to be provided for social or affordable purposes from this requirement; and
  • if, after a period of 2 years, the local authority is satisfied that despite reasonable efforts, a market has not emerged, the condition will lapse

As of 18 May 2022, An Bord Pleanála advised that it had applied the planning condition prohibiting multiple sales to a total of 7,988 residential units across 23 Strategic Housing Development (SHD) planning permissions. Furthermore, of the 31 local authorities, 23 confirmed that they have permitted 7,895 residential units with a condition attached to prohibit multiple sales.

This means that in a 1-year period, a combined total of 15,883 homes have received planning permission with conditions restricting the bulk buying or multiple sales to a single purchaser.

The Ministerial Planning Guidelines are part of a series of government measures designed to prohibit the bulk buying of houses and duplexes in order to increase housing stock for home ownership. Other measures include a 10% stamp duty levy on the cumulative purchase of 10 or more residential houses in a 12 month period.

Commenting on the data, Minister Darragh O’Brien, said, “The government is committed to supporting homeownership. These data demonstrate that we are making the right interventions and delivering for those who wish get to get on the property ladder. Through our plan, Housing for All, we are taking every possible measure to increase supply and provider greater access to homeownership for those who want it.”

Last year, the government gave further legislative effect to the Regulation of Commercial Institutional Investment in Housing guidelines. The requirement, an action under Housing for All, the government’s housing plan to 2030, require local authorities to ensure home ownership as a tenure type is provided for and estimated in their Housing Strategies.

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