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CIF welcomes the Minister’s Proposals to address viability in the residential sector, however, there are a number of areas where the measures do not go far enough.
CIF welcomes the announcements by the Department of Environment and the Department of Finance in respect of the supply of housing; however, the range of measures proposed are very heavily caveated, and substantial further information is to follow.
Speaking in respect of some of this detail, Tom Parlon, Director General stated:
“The principle of a rebate for Development Contributions is very welcome; however, the proposal that it would apply for schemes in excess of 50 units only may be a something that the Government might reconsider in the development of the detail. There are many key sites around our cities that could comfortably accommodate fewer than 50 homes. The problem is, these are unviable by virtue of the mismatch between the cost of construction and the spend available to would-be purchasers. Similarly, the proposal to offer this incentive to house builders located in the Cork and Dublin regions alone will only reinforce the 3-tier economy in existence across the Country. Homes are required across the our towns and cities, and while land prices are lower in those locations, the actual cost of building is almost the same. We see no logic behind the exclusion of the regions from this measure.”
The review of apartment standards, and the proposed establishment of a national set of guidelines, are most welcome. Under current arrangements, apartments are simply unviable, and therefore are not being delivered:
“We welcome the proposal to reinstate the 2007 Residential Apartment Guidelines on a national basis. When these were introduced, the Department of Environment believed they would step-change the look and feel of apartment living. But they were never tested over any period of time as the market collapsed, and so they were never really used. They had a provision for Local Authorities to add additional requirements on top of them, which is why we see such additional cost and disparity across the Country. Reinstating these Guidelines will not risk a return to the ‘shoebox’ apartment – as some people are suggesting – these 2007 Guidelines were introduced as the culture of longer term and family apartment living was established in our towns and cities. We think it is important to remove the additional costs arising from unnecessary and excessive standards, which have been applied since that time, and this will help in the delivery of new homes.”