Lack of activity in Dublin’s social housing market is ‘breathtaking’, says expert – The Irish Times
Only 200 homes were added to the social housing stock in Dublin‘s four councils each year between 2017 and 2021, according to an analysis of official data by a leading housing policy expert.
The picture is particularly bleak in the Dublin City Council area which has actually seen its social housing stock shrink by an average of 54 homes each year over the same five-year period, once the number of homes withdrawn from the social housing network accordingly sales to occupants and demolitions were subtracted from the number of houses entered into the system.
The figures are based on an analysis of figures from the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC), the most comprehensive dataset on social housing in the state.
Architect and housing policy analyst Mel Reynolds, who conducted the research, told The Irish Times that the lack of activity in the social housing market, particularly in Dublin, over the past few years has was “amazing”.
NOAC aggregates additions to social stock across the state’s 31 city and county councils with numbers that include new construction, new and used acquisitions, properties returning to stock, and Part V units acquired. from developers and allow inventory to leave the system as a result of the sale of units to tenants and demolitions.
Mr Reynolds’ analysis suggests that 10,108 local authority houses nationwide were added to the stock from all sources over the five-year period, representing 2,022 each year, a cumulative increase by 7.7%.
Across Dublin’s four local authorities, 999 homes were added over the same period, an increase of 2.3%.
Dublin City Council has recorded a net loss of 268 homes in five years, from 24,990 in 2017 to 24,772 in 2021.
Cork County Council also recorded a net loss of 302 homes, from 7,965 in 2017 to 7,663 in 2021.
Fingal County Council recorded a net increase of 780 in five years, South Dublin County Council increased by 452, while in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown there was only a net increase of 35 .
Cork City and Kildare recorded the highest net increases in stock of 1,437 and 1,230 respectively, representing 26.4% of the overall stock.
“These numbers have been hiding in plain sight and they are an absolute measure,” Mr. Reynolds said. “We keep hearing that local authorities are much more active than they used to be, but they’re not and that’s why people have been on waiting lists for over a decade and why Housing resentment levels are rising.”
He noted that the least activity was happening in Dublin, “the area with the most expensive rents, the longest waiting lists and the least affordable home. The only way to get a house is if a tenant dies”.
“The impression given by the official announcements is that there is a lot of activity in the market when there is not at all the case. The Department of Housing can sometimes make the numbers as inscrutable as possible and you can have all that smoke and mirrored stuff.
His assessment was echoed by TU Dublin academic and housing expert Lorcan Sirr, who said the figures ‘show how little housing is actually being added to social stock’ at a time when there is a list of waiting for social housing of 26,000 across Dublin’s four councils. .
He said that when it comes to numbers, information that is released into the public domain from certain sources can be quite selective and doesn’t tell the whole story.
A spokesperson for the Department of Housing said supply was increasing with plans to implement “the state’s largest home building program ever”.
He noted that Dublin’s four local authorities have around 2,000 homes under construction at various sites and more than 3,700 more in their pipelines for delivery.
He added that a “significant part of housing delivery is carried out by approved housing organisations”, which “are not part of the local authority stock and therefore not included in NOAC reports”.