Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has reacted angrily at the publication of the government’s affordable plan which will only see a mere 30 homes built per year. With some of the highest house prices in the country, and mortgage rates are set to increase in the next while, the cost of rent in the county has doubled in the last decade, to the point where new tenants are paying an average of €2,000 a month, a situation that is already in crisis is set to deteriorate even more.
“Serious questions need to be asked here. Despite the Minister for Housing’s rhetoric about believing in home ownership. Between now and 2026 he is only funding a tiny amount of genuinely affordable homes to purchase. This government promised action on the housing crisis, it promised the delivery of housing across the state, instead what we are witnessing is the emergence of a dud project. The delivery of a mere 30 affordable purchase houses per year up until 2026, across the whole of the county of Wicklow will not even come close to scratching the surface of current demand out there.
It appears that this government does not possess the capacity, the empathy, or the wherewithal to process just what the implications of a housing crisis entails for ordinary people across the country. And in our county of Wicklow, the high purchase and rental cost of property leaves us in a situation where new tenants will be facing rental cost increases of 9% on top of what were already exorbitant costs.
The average cost of a three-bed semi-detached home in Wicklow now cost an average of €342,000, in North Wicklow it is now running at over €540,000. Prices are being driven by our county’s proximity to Dublin, yet the coalition government feels no responsibility towards the people of Wicklow, who are mired in a crisis of the government’s making.
Large numbers of people who would in the past have hoped to get onto the property ladder now find themselves in a catch22 situation where they are marginally above the threshold for receiving social housing supports yet are deemed to be earning too little to qualify for a mortgage, forcing them into a rental market that is set up to fleece them. Combined with the unprecedented increases in the cost of living a lot of people are faced with a very uncertain and worrying future.
In many parts of the County now we have large residential developments taking place. The major difficulty is that much of this development is completely unaffordable to ordinary working Wicklow people. This government’s affordable targets are merely a box ticking exercise that will do nothing to help address the crisis, and by its failure to address the crisis, the government is in effect contributing to the crisis.
We need at least 4,000 affordable purchase homes a year. The best way to deliver these homes is through Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.”