Cabinet approves €200m plan to reduce building costs for developers

Scheme expected to facilitate up to 20,000 new houses and apartments

Cabinet has approved a €200m infrastructure fund aimed at increasing housing supply. 

The plan will see local authorities being given money to build access roads for development sites and deal with other infrastructure problems.

It means the cost involved in developing land will be borne in part by the state, rather than the builder. 

The scheme is expected to facilitate in the region of 15,000 to 20,000 new houses and apartments.

Councils can avail of the new funding to provide infrastructure such as distributor roads, bridges and surface water management amenities.

The package, which will be rolled out between now and 2019, is part of a wider government effort to make home building cheaper.

It is double what had been promised in the Programme for Government, which committed the minority coalition to putting in place a €100m fund to open up both public and private sites.

A report last month revealed that constructions costs account for less than half the average price of building a house in the greater Dublin area.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors research found that levies and VAT make up a bulk of expenses borne by builders.

It is hoped this scheme will alleviate the financial burden on developers by providing councils with money to unlock land in high-demand areas.

The Construction Industry Federation, which represents companies in the sector, welcomed the proposed plan in a statement this morning.

Investment in infrastructure will help tackle the housing crisis by alleviating some of the cost of building and stimulating activity across the country, it said.

Tom Parlon of the CIF told Newstalk Lunchtime the money would serve several purposes: