Bill levels the pitch for first home buyers

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WEXFORD TD James Browne has welcomed a Bill to prevent so-called Cuckoo Funds from buying up entire developments that have not been designated as build to rent.

The Planning & Development (First Time Buyers) Bill 2019 will allow local authorities to earmark a certain percentage of zoned land (up to 30% at the discretion of the local authority) for first-time buyers.

Deputy Browne said: “We’re in the middle of a home ownership crisis. Ireland has already fallen from a world leader to behind the EU average ownership rate of 69% under the current Government.

many first-time buyers don’t have a chance of owning a home

“Now direct competition from massive institutional investors will mean many first-time buyers don’t have a chance of owning a home,” the Fianna Fail TD said.

The Bill comes after spending from institutional investors soared in 2018 including snapping up developments where first-time buyers had already put down deposits.

“The Bill, introduced by my party colleague Deputy Darragh O’Brien, will level the playing field for first time buyers.

“It will operate on a similar basis to current Part V provisions, which ensure that 10% of the units are set aside for social housing.

“For example, a development of 10 units must have three units available for first time buyers to purchase.

it will prevent developments from being bought up by institutional investors

“If the Bill is passed, Wexford County Council and all other local authorities will be required to review their housing strategy, identifying targets for rental units over the lifetime of its housing plan. This will ensure a full picture of the housing market is considered when the council sets out its future.”

He said appropriate investment should be encouraged but not at any price.  The Bill would allow for exemptions from the 30% First Time Buyers rule for Build to Rent developments once they were part of the Local Authority Housing strategy.

“This will allow developments to proceed if they are in line with the Councils housing strategy.

“However, it will prevent developments that are not earmarked as just Build to Rent from being bought up by institutional investors when they go to the market,” Deputy Browne said.

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