The State will “exceed” its housing targets this year, the Housing Minister has predicted.
Under the Housing for All programme, the Government committed itself to increase house building to 33,000 new homes on average per year between 2021 and 2030.
Despite concern that the increase in the cost of building materials could hamper the construction industry, Minister Darragh O’Brien described himself as “optimistic” about this year’s targets.
“We are going in the right direction,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“I’m optimistic about this year; we’ve about, as I speak to you, about 37,000 homes at various stages of construction - we’ve a target of 29,000 this year and I intend to exceed that.
“The targets, whilst they are important, they’re our baseline targets and we intend to do more than that.”
House prices in Ireland are currently hovering around the same level as they were at the peak of the Celtic Tiger and rents in the capital have surged by 14% in the space of a year.
Minister O’Brien said he understood people’s “frustrations” but insisted there were “positive signs” as well.
“Last year, we delivered just short of 10,500 new social homes - that was the highest amount… in 50 years,” he said.
“We delivered affordable homes for the first time in a generation and… last year, we saw the highest amount of first time buyers purchasing homes since 2007.
“One in two new homes being bought are being bought by first time buyers using schemes like the Help to Buy Grant.”
The State is spending €4 billion a year in housing and Minister O’Brien praised some local authorities as doing “extremely well” in building social housing.
“We’ve an exacting target of 9,100 new build social homes and we intend to meet that,” he said.
“If I go back to 2021, we’d only built 5,100 - which was a good amount but last year it was 7,500.
“Sums like that, it shows progression.”
Main image: Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie