Dáil Éireann - Volume 673 - 05 February, 2009
Written Answers. - Social and Affordable Housing.
Deputy Mary Upton Deputy Mary Upton
Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of affordable housing units at turn-key stage which are at present vacant and unsold; his views on the additional cost to local authorities of financing that housing; if it his intention to make an alteration in the affordable housing provisions to make the scheme more attractive in the context of falling house prices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3898/09]
Deputy Michael Finneran Deputy Michael Finneran
Deputy Michael Finneran: It is a feature of the operation of the affordable housing schemes that individual authorities ordinarily have a certain quantum of completed affordable homes on hands at any given time, principally comprising units either being prepared for, or in the course of, sale. However, the information available from local authorities would suggest that the strong level of affordable housing delivery in 2008 and wider housing and mortgage market considerations are combining to increase the stock of homes on hands. The indications to date are that the number of affordable units on hands nationally is in the region of 2,500 to 3,000 units. Given that the length of time between the acquisition and subsequent sale of affordable homes varies from case to case, it is not feasible to estimate the associated financing costs.
My Department has requested the Affordable Homes Partnership to examine the position in selected areas, in conjunction with the relevant housing authorities, with a view to identifying actions that might assist in the sale of such units. In this context, the partnership is arranging a seminar for local authorities to advise on marketing and sale of affordable homes in the  current climate. Further guidance will be issued to local authorities by my Department and by the AHP in the coming weeks.
Where housing authorities consider it appropriate, in the context of reduced open market prices and the continuing need to ensure value for money outcomes, they have the option to provide further subsidy, including from any Part V funds on hands. Local authorities are best positioned to make judgments in this regard based on local circumstances.
Dáil Éireann 673 Written Answers. Social and Affordable Housing.