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Finance | Investment funding to housing developments

To ask the Minister for Finance the extent to which investment funds are currently funding the house building markets at higher-than-average interest rates; his views on whether this market should be filled by the Irish pillar banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Through the implementation of the Housing for All strategy, the Government plans to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade. This is an ambitious plan which will provide increased housing supply and affordability.

While the plan is backed by unprecedented State investment, the Government cannot deliver on this programme alone. The only way we can deliver housing at the substantial scale we need is by also attracting private capital to the market.

Through modelling undertaken by the Department of Finance, it is estimated that €12 billion of development funding per annum, comprising both debt and equity, will be required to develop the Housing for All target of an average of 33,000 homes per year. Of this €12 billion per annum, an estimated €10 billion will be required from private capital sources. While a portion of this will come from our domestic banks, the majority will be required from international sources.

Domestic banks set risk limits around the type and nature of lending activity, resulting in selective and prudent lending practices. It is not desirable that domestic banks provide senior debt at unsustainable levels and levels of debt should appropriately reflect the risk profile of development projects.

As a result, we will attract and welcome inward investment to our housing market, as we have successfully done with investment in other sectors of our economy. This private and patient capital coming from well-established investors such as pension funds is a normal facet of housing investment in many of our European neighbours and beyond.

A substantial increase in the supply of new homes is the only route to solving Ireland’s housing crisis. This will require significant private investment alongside our public investment and is necessary to meet the targets set out in the Housing for All strategy.

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