More families unable to afford homes in Dublin

The Dublin City Councillors agreed to tightly restrict eligibility to qualify for the affordable housing scheme. Thus, fewer families will be able to buy social housing in Dublin.

The Dublin City Council is seeking developers for 400 new homes on three different sites. These homes will be offered for sale to qualifying low and middle income workers. The starting price will be from $116,000. New apartments and homes amounting to 370 new units in Ballyum and Ballyfermont will be the first of several thousand affordable homes in all of Dublin, Fingal and Dun Laoghaire.  The scheme of priority has been approved by councillors by the four local authorities. The scheme determines how prospective buyers will be chosen.

Priority applicants have been defined as those living in the council area for at least 12 month will be the first to chose the newly available homes. The remaining homes will be offered to applicants with children in education in a set distance of the property. Any remaining homes will then be available to those who have a household member with a job a set distance from the house.

The specific school and job distances that define availability has been determined as 300km. This distance was determined because Dublin city councillors wanted to open the scheme to as many applicants as possible.

The determining of the 300km distance was the only change councillors had the power to make the scheme. The other terms of the scheme were established by the Department of Housing.

However, the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy refused to approve the council’s scheme. Eoghan Murphy said the 300km limit appeared to be an attempt to include everyone with an interest in applying. He continued to note that the effect of including almost everyone with an interest in applying was that this would remove any capacity for prioritization based on education or workplace location. The Minister was not able to approve the affordable home scheme because the draft of the scheme of priority is inconsistent with the legislation.

The councillors have recently agreed to reduce the distances to 30km form schools and 50okm from workplaces. This change in distances is also likely to require further legislative alterations. Homes will be aimed at workers who cannot secure mortgages to buy on the open market but do not qualify for social housing. Specifically single applicants must earn less than €50,000. Couples can only earn up to €75,000.

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