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New vacant and derelict properties regulations will be a game changer in tackling the housing crisis

23rd January 2022 - Emer Higgins, TD

Extending first-time buyer initiatives to vacant and derelict homes will be a significant help to young people looking to buy and renovate their own home, a Fine Gael TD has said. Fine Gael TD and Member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Deputy Emer Higgins has welcomed the government’s announcement to allow vacant and derelict properties to be turned into homes without the requirement for planning permission Deputy Higgins said, “Supply is the biggest issue currently facing us in terms of housing, and real opportunity exists in our current vacant housing stock that would bolster the supply already promised and being delivered under Housing For All. “Fine Gael recently published a Discussion Paper on Vacant Housing and Renewal in December where we put forward 26 proposals for consideration which build on the policies planned in Housing for All and Town Centre First. “One of these proposals was to extend the first-time buyer initiatives to include vacant and derelict properties and we are delighted to see that the Minister has taken our suggestion on board. “Different estimates indicate there are between 42,000 to 92,000 vacant properties currently in Ireland, which admittedly goes against the grain when so often I hear from couples and single people who are struggling to buy their first home. “Extending first time buyer supports such as the Help To Buy Scheme and the soon to be introduced Shared Equity Scheme so that they can be used to purchase not just new builds but also vacant and derelict homes will increase the supply of available homes for first time buyers and also aide in the regeneration of local properties that have become rundown and eye sores in the local community,” added Deputy Higgins. “Of course, buying a vacant home would not be suitable for all first-time buyers but for those looking for somewhere they can renovate and remodel, the Help To Buy or Shared Equity scheme’s should be available to help them do that. “It can be so disheartening to feel locked out of purchasing a home in the area of your choice, but yet walk around your local area and see examples of empty or derelict dwellings that have the potential to make the perfect home with some work. “Solving the current Housing Crisis requires our most innovative solutions and there’s no reason we shouldn’t focus on building new homes while also finding creative ways to make our existing empty housing stock a serious option for first-time buyers,” concluded Deputy Higgins

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