Property and housing are the issues at the forefront of Irish people's minds. It seems unlikely that any new government will tackle the critical issues and the housing crisis of its own accord.
With growing housing demand and very little new supply in recent years, there are severe pressures in the rental sector. This has been evidenced by rising rents, pressure to increase rent supplement and for a small proportion of low-income households who cannot meet new demands, evictions leading to homelessness.
A number of tenant evictions has hit the headlines recently bringing home a newer aspect of the housing crisis, the role played in attracting hedge funds and private equity firms to Ireland.
Overall, a large share of occupancy in the private rented sector consists of unmet social housing need.
For low income households public subsidy schemes, such as HAP or RAS, provide attractive alternatives to mainstream social housing. But schemes such as these put further pressure and demand on the private rented sector.
As the housing crisis deepens and pressure mounts, 32% of people in a recent 'Royal London' survey think the Government should build more houses as a step towards solving the housing problem in Ireland.
Increasing supply by encouraging developers and investors to resume construction will not solve the current crisis. Both local authorities and AHBs need to rapidly increase their share of social housing provision.
Affordable rental accommodation can be provided by both public housing bodies and/or by the private sector. But an integrated solution is one that requires a combination of
- Supply-side supports and incentives
- Government social housing investment
- An independent inspection regime to maintain regulations and standards