City councillor Mark Lohan has asked the Director of the Housing Department in Galway City to prepare a list of suitable sites in the city for inclusion in the newly announced Affordable Purchase Scheme.
Minister Eoghan Murphy this week announced a three-prong initiative on addressing affordability in the housing market — The Affordable Mortgage Scheme, the Affordable Purchase Scheme and an Affordable Rental Scheme. Details have yet to be published on all three schemes.
Cllr Lohan who has been an outspoken advocate for the building of affordable homes in Galway City said these are homes for Galway citizens who fail to qualify for the social housing list and who cannot afford the private market.
“The Minister’s Affordable Mortgage Scheme may assist some of those who fall into that category, but this scheme is not anything new, and will not address the need for increased supply of housing, he said. “Depending on its success, it can potentially have an impact on interest rates with private lenders” said the Sinn Féin councillor.
Cllr Lohan has welcomed the announcement of the Affordable Purchase Scheme, as this will create new builds and cap the price which buyers will have to pay for them.
“The Affordable Purchase Scheme holds the greatest potential to help Galway citizens trying to buy a home.The houses will be built on State-owned land and sold at a reduced rate to qualified buyers. The State will retain a share in the equity of the house and that will have to be repaid if the house is sold on. It may also be bought out by the buyer at a later date.
Cllr Lohan said that he has this week contacted Minister Murphy’s office and asked for more detail on the Affordable Purchase Scheme and for specific detail on the four sites identified in Dublin as pilot projects.
“I have also asked the minister to list any sites the State owns within Galway City which may be suitable as a local project. I have contacted our Director of Housing in Galway City and asked for a list of any potential city owned sites, which are zoned for high density residential and which may be suitable for such a scheme if the state does not have a suitable land parcel.
“I will push for the criteria to allow for a joint venture with the city so that we can build as soon as possible. I have consistently called for creative thinking on addressing the need for affordable homes in Galway City. The initial reports of the Affordable Purchase Scheme gives me some hope that we can make progress in Galway on breaking ground and getting our citizens into their own homes,” stated Cllr Lohan
He said the detail of the scheme, which is not yet public, will determine its effectiveness in tackling affordable housing.
“I will not be found wanting in advocating for its implementation in Galway City. It is an opportunity to make progress and I await the answers I have asked of the Minister and the Housing Director. Once I have these I intend on bringing a proposal to the Housing SPC and local legislation to the full City Council,” concluded Cllr Lohan.