Threshold Calls on Government to Address Emerging Housing Shortage in Budget 2014
Housing charity presents to Oireachtas Committee on Finance
Ireland is experiencing a housing shortage that could become a full-blown crisis if left unaddressed in Budget 2014. That’s according to the national housing charity Threshold, which today (11.09.13) presented its pre-budget submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.
Commenting today, Bob Jordan, Chief Executive of Threshold, said: “Up to 30,000 new houses need to be constructed annually to meet the ongoing demand for new homes. However, since the recession, housing construction has virtually ceased, with only 8,500 new units built last year.
“Despite high emigration rates, Ireland’s population is increasing. New families are being formed all the time and young, expanding families are outgrowing their existing homes. All of these factors have led to an increase in demand for housing, but the supply is simply not there in high-demand urban areas. As a result, we have families in overcrowded apartments where their children have no room to study or play, and we have grown adults returning to live with their parents because they can’t get a home of their own.
“It takes time for new houses to be built. So we need to think now of our housing needs in the years to come. Budget 2014 must deal with the housing shortage that has emerged in large urban areas. Unless we act now, we will condemn an entire generation to live in unsuitable housing.”
In its pre-budget submission, Threshold calls on the Government to introduce a stimulus for housing construction that is directly based on current housing needs.
“One of the terrible legacies of the property crash is that we have empty houses in the wrong locations,” said Bob Jordan. “The property crash resulted in an oversupply of housing, but much of that housing is in areas where there was no demand in the first place, where there is little employment and where few families want to live. In large urban areas, the demand for housing is rising – and house prices are rising as a result.”
Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said: ““The recovery of the housing market is essential to lifting Ireland out of recession. Budget 2014 provides an important opportunity to promote a sustainable housing recovery. The measures outlined in Threshold’s pre-budget submission would generate construction employment and economic growth, while simultaneously addressing the social needs of the thousands of families who seek Threshold’s help with their housing problems each year.
“Ireland’s economy crashed because of the collapse of the property bubble. Now, just as economic recovery seems like a realistic prospect, we must act to ensure a further property-related crisis is averted. Unless the emerging housing shortage in urban Ireland – particularly Dublin – is addressed, we will see the poorest households squeezed out of their homes by those who can afford to pay more.”
Housing Shortage: the Figures
- The construction sector accounted for almost 24% of GNP in 2007; it now accounts for just over 5%.
- There has been a 90% drop in housing construction output, from 93,000 housing units in 2006 to just 8,500 in 2012.
- An estimated additional 20,000 to 30,000 properties are needed on an annual basis to meet current levels of demand.