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Property experts discuss infrastructure challenges

Property Industry Ireland (PII), the Ibec group representing businesses working in the property sector, held its annual conference today at The Marker Hotel in Dublin.

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, Damien English, addressed the conference, alongside Mary Buckley, deputy Chief Executive of the IDA, who discussed with industry experts how to solve the chronic housing shortage, opportunities and challenges from Brexit, and the formation of a strategy for the property sector until 2040. Niall Cussen, Principal Adviser (Planning), at the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, presented the findings of the eagerly anticipated National Planning Framework consultation document- Ireland 2040.

Property Industry Ireland Director, Dr David Duffy, stated: "The property sector is facing a series of short and longer-term challenges such as the impact of Brexit on Irish society, and the need to urgently increase the supply of newly built homes into the market. With the new National Planning Framework eagerly awaited, we were delighted to welcome Niall Cussen, Principal Adviser at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to our conference, who outlined details of the final consultation document.

"We continue to face a situation where the demand for accommodation remains significantly higher than the speed of new homes being built. That is only set to continue as our population increases and as the influx of FDI expected post-Brexit places further demands on our housing and infrastructure.

“Today, PII are calling on Government to tackle the infrastructure barriers that are preventing the delivery of new homes. This would go some way to ensuring a return to a functioning housing market, ready to deliver affordable homes for all.”

During the conference, the PII called for the following policy recommendations to be implemented as a matter of urgency in order to increase the supply of new homes:

-Retain the Help-to-Buy scheme introduced in Budget 2017 until its expiry on 31 December 2019. It is important that a clear message be sent by Government that the scheme will be retained to this date as certainty is required to ensure that it continues to have a positive impact on supply.

-Establish an independent National Infrastructure Authority to identify and prioritise spend on infrastructure projects.

-Establish a rolling fund for the provision of local infrastructure to un/under-serviced zoned land that has the potential to deliver housing or commercial development.

-Government should identify and sell any state/semi-state property holdings identified as part of Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map, which are currently not fully utilised and which
Government/semi-state bodies would not purchase at their existing open market value.

-Optimise a commercial structure that enables the State to access private capital to build social houses at scale.

-Review local authority financing to ensure that local infrastructure and services are adequately financed.

-Establish a Rent Guarantee Scheme to ensure regional commercial property availability.
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