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Media and Press

News about all aspects of the Housing Agency is disseminated through the Media Relations Office by various means, including press releases and publications.

Should you have any media queries please direct them to email:-  communications@housingagency.ie

Latest press releases

 

The Housing Agency Welcomes Budget 2018

10/10/2017

Speaking after the announcement of budget 2018 about the housing sector, The Housing Agency’s CEO John O’Connor said,

Overall Housing Budget Allocation

“We welcome today’s budget announcement with the significant increases in funding for housing and related infrastructure.” 

Social Housing Delivery and Homelessness Allocation

“The provision of a further €500 million for direct building of an additional 3,000 new build social houses by 2021 is much needed; as is the funding of €116m to address homelessness.”

“The continued support and increase of funding to the housing assistance payment (HAP), which has proved to be effective in providing housing support and preventing homelessness, is critically important.”

 “Infrastructure investment, through LIHAF is welcome as we need to continue to invest in infrastructure to support our future housing requirements.”    

Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI)

“The setting up of Home Building Finance Ireland with a €750 million fund for housing development will make a difference. This will assist in providing much needed funding to support housing development. The target should be to support home builders in delivering housing and bringing empty properties back into use.”

Affordable Housing

“The reintroduction of affordable housing both to rent and buy is very important. The initial allocation of €25m coupled with the use of local authority and state land can be an effective approach to provide affordable homes for those who cannot afford to rent or buy on the open market.”

Mortgage to Rent Scheme

“The increase to €22m of funding for the expansion of the Mortgage to Rent Scheme will allow many more households to remain in the homes.”

“We need to continue our focus on helping households in mortgage arrears.”

Taxation and Site Levies

“The changes to capital gains tax and the site levels will get land owners focused on making use of their land for housing delivery.”

“Tax reliefs for work on vacant homes to encourage owners to get them back into use is the type of initiative that the Housing Agency fully supports. We need to incentivise and support owners of these properties to get these vacant houses occupied again.”

To find more information on the Housing Agency please visit, www.housingagency.ie or go to the twitter page @HousingAgencyIE.

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The Housing Agency Welcomes iCare into the Approved Housing Body Sector.

27/09/17

Speaking today after the announcement by iCare’s CEO David Hall, Claire Feeney from the Mortgage Support Services Division in the Housing Agency said,

We welcome iCare as a new Approved Housing Body. It’s important we continue to support all AHBs helping those in mortgage arrears. It’s a positive move by AIB to partner up with iCare. We acknowledge the positive steps taken by all financial institutions in helping to tackle stressed mortgages.

The Housing Agency will continue to work managing the Mortgage to Rent scheme and working with all stakeholders involved. We urge anyone in mortgage arrears to approach their mortgage provider and ask about Mortgage to Rent. If you’re not in a position to contact your bank please contact any of the advocacy groups, Abhaile, MABS, Step Change and the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation.”

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Housing Agency host Annual Conference 2017 to discuss policies to future proof the Irish Housing Sector

28/06/2017

The Housing Agency today held its annual conference in Cork Park at which the topic Future Proofing Housing: Sustainable and Affordable homes for all was discussed by a panel of housing experts in the company of the new Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy T.D.

Speaking at the conference today Minister Murphy said; “It is a priority for this government that we continue to vigorously tackle the under lying problems in the Irish housing market. The Rebuilding Ireland programme is just over a year in operation and I will soon begin a review of that programme to ensure that we are doing all that we can to drive the change necessary in the sector. The Rebuilding Ireland plan is working but if there are lessons to be learned one year in we should learn them and move forward with the strongest possible programme that will deliver for families the length and breadth of this country. While we deal with the immediate challenges faced by families trying to find an affordable home today we must also look to the future to ensure that we can meet the challenges that lie ahead.  This mix of expert speakers here today is enormously useful in informing that future proofing policy work currently being undertaken by officials in my department.” 

Speaking at the conference today Chief Executive of the Housing Agency, John O’Connor said, “Each year the Housing Agency annual conference presents an opportunity for those of us tasked with implementing and informing government housing policy to hear from leading experts in the sector. This year’s conference has a forward looking theme. We will today examine the challenges in delivering affordable and sustainable communities in the future. Three years ago the Housing Agency held a summit bringing together a wide range of housing specialists to examine ways to increase housing supply in the short term. The recommendations that came from that summit directly impacted the future direction of government housing policy and we hope that this year’s conference will do the same. I am very much looking forward to hearing what our expert speakers have to say.”

Speakers at the 2017 conference today include: 

Dr. Conor Skehan, Chair of Housing Agency

Dr. Brian Hughes, Urban Economics and Demographic Consultant

Dr. David Duffy, Director, Property Industry Ireland

Dr Kieran Feighan, President of Engineers Ireland

Marian Finnegan, Chief Economist & Director of Research, Sherry Fitzgerald Group

For more information please visit www.housingagency.ie or visit www.twitter.com/housingagencyie.

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Housing Agency launch on-line Affordability Calculator

for prospective renters and home owners

Housing Agency urge those in mortgage arrears to seek advice

9 May 2017

The Housing Agency today launched an on-line affordability calculator aimed at providing prospective renters and home owners with guidance on how much they can afford to spend on rent or mortgage repayments taking their individual financial circumstances into account.

The Housing Agency calculator is independent and easy to use. It can be found at: www.housingagency.ie

Speaking today at the launch of the on-line calculator at a Housing Agency lecture in Dublin Castle on “Engaging with Mortgage Arrears” John O’Connor Chief Executive of the Housing Agency said: “The ongoing housing cost for a household whether renting or paying a mortgage, needs to be affordable. In order to assist people, we are providing an online affordability calculator.”

Speaking at the Housing Agency lecture in Dublin Castle today Claire Feeney of the mortgage support services division in the Housing Agency said: “There is help available for people who find themselves in mortgage arrears. People in this situation should contact their lender or the Money Advice and Budging Service (MABS) or other support agencies to get access to the support they need. The State’s Mortgage to Rent Scheme has been reformed and is available to help more families and individuals who can no longer manage their mortgage repayments.”

The calculator was launched at the latest lecture in the Housing Agency’s quarterly lecture series. Speaking at the event today in Dublin Castle on the topic of mortgage arrears was Angela Black, CEO of the Citizens’ Information Board, Claire Feeney from the Housing Agency and Karl Deeter from Advisors.ie.

To find more information on the calculator, presentations from the lecture and the Housing Agency please visit, www.housingagency.ie. Or go to the twitter page @HousingAgencyIE.

END

PowerPoint presentations from the Housing Agency lecture in Dublin Castle "Engaging with Mortgage Arrears" are available below

Angela Black - Citizen Information Board   Engaging with Mortgage Arrears

Claire Feeney - Housing Agency   Mortgage to Rent

Karl Deeter - Irish Mortgage Brokers  Home truths

 

 

 

The Housing Agency - Statement on Rent Pressure Zones

29th of March 2017

The Housing Agency acknowledges Minister Coveney’s announcement of the designation of two additional local electoral areas as Rent Pressure Zones, following recommendations from the Agency. These are the local electoral areas of Cobh in Cork and Maynooth in Kildare. This brings to 14 the number of local electoral areas, along with all of Dublin and Cork City, which have been designated as rent pressure zones. It is importation to appreciate that it is two local electoral areas that are designated. The Cobh local electoral area covers areas to the east and north of Cork city. The Maynooth electoral area covers a large portion of north Kildare, including Clane. The remaining areas of north Kildare covering Leixlip and Celbridge were designated in January. At this stage, approximately 60% of all rental properties nationally are in designated rent pressure zones. This gives tenants in rental properties and landlords greater certainty and predictability in relation to the maximum annual rent increases permitted. It is important that we support a strong viable and attractive rental sector that delivers affordable and high quality accommodation for tenants and a secure environment for landlords.

Welcoming the announcement John O’Connor, CEO of the Housing Agency said that:

“It is important to recognise the increasingly important role that the rental sector must play in the supply of quality accommodation. The Agency will continue to work to achieve a stable and high quality rental market across the country.”

Ends

 

 

 

The Housing Agency welcomes Minister Coveney’s announcement of the Government’s Rental Strategy.

13th December 2016

The Housing Agency welcomes Minister Coveney’s announcement of the Government’s Rental Strategy together with its package of actions designed to deliver a strong viable and attractive rental sector that delivers affordable and high quality accommodation for tenants and a secure, predictable investment environment for landlords and accommodation providers. We look forward to working with all parties on the assessment and implementation of Rent Pressure Zones described in the strategy.

Welcoming the launch John O’Connor, CEO of the Housing Agency said that:

It is important to recognise the increasingly important role that the rental sector must play in the supply of quality accommodation. This Rental Strategy addresses the key issues of the sector and takes action on rent inflation.

Ends

Click here to download the Rental Strategy

 

 

 

The Housing Agency today welcomed the Central Bank of Ireland’s review of mortgage measures.

23rd November, 2016

The refinement of the lending rules setting the required deposit level at a standard 10% of the value of the home for first time buyers and 20% for second time and subsequent buyers will give clarity for home purchasers.

John O’Connor, CEO of the Housing Agency welcomed the certainty and clarity provided by the Central Bank announcement. He stressed the importance of proper underwriting of loans by lending institutions.

The Agency also welcomed the reduction is the amount of lending that is permitted outside the mortgage lending rules from 15% to 5%.

It is important that borrowers take a long term view of their ability to repay their home loans and recognise that interest rates may rise in the future. Lenders must also behave responsibly and not use short term promotions based on below normal interest rate levels to entice borrowers to enter into repayment commitments that they may be unable to sustain in the medium to long term.”

The Housing Agency is of the opinion than introductory interest rate offers should not be permitted.

He advised lenders to apply more weighting to the first time buyer’s consistent savings record over a sustained period of time than to deposits sourced through short term loan arrangements or family support. 

ENDS

 

 

 

Housing Agency and HSE launch housing design guidelines to assist those living with persistent mental health conditions

15th November 2016

Ireland takes lead in publishing housing design guidelines to encourage independent living for those with persistent mental health conditions

Today the Housing Agency together with the HSE launched first of its kind design guidelines for those providing accommodation for people living with persistent mental health conditions. This is the first time any such design guidelines targeting this cohort of the population have been produced anywhere in the world. The Housing Agency and the HSE have drawn together best practice in home design for people living with enduring and life altering mental health conditions (e.g. some forms of schizophrenia, dementia) into design guidelines to help facilitate independent living.

The guidelines can be used by anyone supporting those living with mental health conditions (e.g. health care professionals, architects, designers, builders, families, individuals, Local Authorities, Housing Bodies, etc). The aim is to help overcome some of the obstacles to and reduce the amount of assistance required for a person with a persistent mental health condition to maintain and run their home.

Click here to download the guidelines

Some recommendations included in the guidelines are:

  1. Maximizing daylight, reducing noise exposure in the built environment (all of which can exacerbate mental health issues if not designed into homes)
  2. Ensuring natural elements such as plants and views of the natural environment from windows (can reduce stress and diminish cognitive fatigue)
  3. Low maintenance accommodation and gardens (reducing need for additional support)
  4. Monitored smoke, gas, heat, CO2 detector alarms (also controls with audio and touch based clues for ease of use)
  5. Use of appliances that are undemanding and straightforward to operate e.g one action to turn on and off
  6. Ensuring homes are located in diverse, active communities close to essential amenities and support services

Speaking at the launch of the report today Mr John O’Connor Chief Executive of the Housing Agency said the following: “This housing design guide is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Drawing on best practice and the experience of mental health experts and others we hope that this guide will make it easier for those living with enduring mental health conditions to live independently in our communities. We know that small changes in house design and layout can have a hugely positive impact on people living with conditions like schizophrenia or dementia. Over the past 10 years we have seen a huge change in how buildings have been modified to help those with physical disabilities to live independent lives. Now it’s time to bring that focus to support those living with mental health conditions so that they too can live independent lives in a safer environment.”

Speaking at the launch today Minister Helen McEntee T.D. said the following: “Government policy is to support those with enduring mental health conditions to move from congregated settings to live in the heart of their local communities. With these design guidelines Ireland is leading the way in focusing the minds and talents of people who support those with mental health conditions to create homes appropriate to their needs. Equipping people to live independent lives is at the core of government policy in this area”

Speaking at the launch today one of the report authors HSE occupational therapist Aine O’Reilly said the following; “I know from my work with people living with challenging mental health conditions that leading a fulfilling, independent life matters a great deal to many of them. I was also aware that no guidelines existed for architects, builders or designers to help guide them on how to best design and layout a home for this section of the population. This guide is the result of the work of a group of mental health professionals, architects, housing providers, service users and carers, assistive technologists and building project managers who worked with the aim of bringing together their expertise to address this information gap. We’re hoping this guide will be a practical design manual that will help hundreds of people with mental health conditions every year to live more fulfilling, independent and happier lives.”    

ENDS

 



The Housing Agency today launched new research on housing for older people at a special symposium on housing in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.

12th October 2016

Speaking at the symposium today David Silke, Director of research at the Housing Agency said the following: “This new research is very valuable. We now for the first time have a detailed analysis of the housing market for older people which is important data for policy makers and other interested groups. By 2050 Ireland will be home to 458,000 people over the age of 80. Today only 130,000 people are over the age of 80 in this country.  There is a potential market for up to 100,000 purpose designed homes in Ireland and this represents €25 Billion worth of unmet need.”

The Research “Housing for older people – Thinking Ahead” was commissioned by the Housing Agency and Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange.  The research was undertaken by Gerard O’Neill, Amarach Research, with Dr Ronan Lyons (TCD), Dr Lorcan Sirr (DIT) and Keith Finglas Innovation Delivery.

Click here to view the full press release

Housing For Older People Thinking Ahead Report Commissioned by the Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange and the Housing Agency

ENDS

 

 

 

Statement by Housing Agency on Budget 2017

11th October 2016

Speaking today on the publication by the Minister for Finance of the details of Budget 2017 John O’Connor, Chief Executive of the Housing Agency said the following:

“The Housing Agency today welcome the wide range of measures introduced to underpin Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness. The Government allocation of €1.2 billion to housing programmes, a 50% increase over last year, is a substantial investment"  

Click here to view the full press release

ENDS