Sinn Fein call for look into DCC social housing construction costs

by Rachel Darcy

Two Sinn Fein representatives have called for an examination of the costs charged to Dublin City Council for social housing by developers.

The calls come following the publication of a report on apartment building in Ireland, conducted by the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI)

One of the major findings of the report was that a couple looking to purchase the cheapest available apartment unit in Dublin would need to be earning nearly €100,000 per year.

It found that the cheapest two-bed apartment available a low-spec build in a low-rise suburban development, had a sales price of €375,000. This would require a deposit of €37,500 and the buyer to have an income of at least €96,000.

In addition to this, the SCSI report says that construction of apartments in the inner city is costing approximately €240,000 per unit.

Dublin City Council (DCC) Manager Brendan Kenny, however, has been quoted as saying the construction costs of DCC social housing units are on average €340,000 per unit.

Following the release of the report, Sinn Fein’s spokesperson for housing Eoin O Brion said the report raises several key issues for housing availability and affordability in Ireland.

TD O Broin said: “The report published this morning highlights once again how the private sector cannot deliver affordable homes for ordinary working people.

“It also highlights a massive price differential between delivery costs for private homes and tender prices for the council delivery of homes in the city centre.

“In terms of affordability, even for the lowest price apartment being delivered in the Greater Dublin Area, a household would need to have an income of almost €100,000.

“According to the CSO, only 14.5% of households earn over €100,000. The private market will not cater for the majority of households who want to buy an apartment either in the suburbs of Dublin or the city centre.

“The SCSI report also indicates that 76% of the apartment schemes being developed are build to rent. It is not just prospective homeowners who will not be able to afford to live in Dublin.

“The monthly rent for build to rent apartments referenced in the report are between €1,850 and €2,300 in the suburbs, and €2,200 and €2,600 in the city.

“This unaffordability undermines the government’s compact growth strategy, which aims to increase higher density residential development in our urban centres. If the majority of ordinary workers centres cannot afford to either buy or rent somewhere in the city centre, suburban sprawl will continue.

“The SCSI report also highlights another problem. In recent months it has come to light that Dublin City Council are being charged excessive prices for inner city social housing apartment developments.

“A report from DCC Housing Manager Brendan Kenny quoted construction costs on these developments of €340,000 per apartment. Yet the SCSI report has construction costs of €240,000 and less on similar private sector developments.

“Why are developers and contractors charging Dublin City Council €100,000 more than they charge themselves for similar types of developments?

“The Ministers report needs to look at the wider issue of unaffordability in the private sector and examine whether certain developers are gouging Dublin City Council on social housing tender prices.”

Dublin City Councillor Daithi Doolan (SF), who is the housing spokesperson for the party on DCC, said: “This greed can not go unchallenged.

“The report outlines that construction costs for a 2 bed apartment ranges from €219,000 To €262,000. This clearly contradicts the figures in a report issued last month by Dublin City Council which confirmed developers were charging City Council between €303,635 and €372,842 to build a 2 bedroom apartment.

“This is having a hugely negative impact on our ability to deliver social and affordable housing. This is directly contributing to the housing crisis.

“This price fixing is wrong. It is unacceptable. The Minister for Housing must take immediate action to ensure this greed is immediately stopped.”

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