Semi-state solution can crack housing crisis

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The Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) today called for the establishment of a new ‘housing company of Ireland’ to undertake the construction and acquisition of 70,000 new homes and resolve the housing crisis.

The traded union-backed think tank said this new body should be a semi-state company, which could draw on relatively cheap long-term borrowing, as well as funds from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, to supplement the housing programmes of local authorities and voluntary housing associations.

In a report to be launched this morning, NERI says the new housing company could crack a housing crisis in which fewer than 4,000 rental dwellings were available last month, compared to 23,000 in 2009. It said average rents increased at an annual rate of over 13% in 2016, and are now higher than in 2008.

The report, Ireland’s housing emergency: Time for a game changer, calls for a fundamental rethink of social housing models in Ireland, with the adoption of “European norms of mixed-income renting provided by public enterprises,” and funded and operated in ways that don’t add to public expenditure or debt.

Resolving the housing crisis will “require a high degree of societal and political consensus that the solution to this problem necessitates a whatever-it-takes’ approach. That there is a crisis of housing may very well signal a deeper crisis of public values and choice in so far as the balance between private and public interest has been too far weighted towards the private,” it says.

Read the report HERE.