From top: Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace in a meeting of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness this morning
During a meeting of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness.
Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace spoke about land banking in Ireland.
“You talk about the vacant site levy as if, I know you say that you’d have liked to have brought it in in 2017 and you’d like 7% and, well I’m glad to hear that, but the vacant site levy that was brought in before Christmas – do you not agree that it’s absolutely a joke. It’s going to bring in so little, it’s not going to speed up the development of sites. Are you going to tell me otherwise?”
“I mean if a fella has borrowed the money to actually land bank, you’re not asking him to even pay tax on it, you’re not asking, you’re not hitting him with a levy. It’s .75% if he owes more than 75% of the money and course he owes more than 75% of the money – he’d be off his head if he wasn’t borrowing to acquire land for land banking.”
“So do you not admit that the State has refused to actually address the problem with land banking because that is the fact and it is probably the biggest problem in terms of affordability around private housing in Ireland: land banking.
“I see a site sold in Clontarf last week for, I think it’s, 27 units. The builder, the developer paid over €220,000 per unit for the site. Over 220 a unit? Now? I mean, so we haven’t dealt with it and I mean it’s an absolute scandal to the State has never dealt with it.”
“…This country is full of small sites and Dublin city has loads of them.. Do you not admit minister that there’s a huge concentration on the part of the local authorities on the big bang effect of big sites. Why aren’t we, why aren’t we getting the small sites going? Why don’t we get the small builder back in?”
“The small builders, there are small builders all over the country dying to do work. And you know what, I’ll tell you something else as well, they’re not looking for a profit of €20,000 – €40,000 a unit. The builders that I know are probably different to the builders that Frank Daly [of NAMA] might know. They’re not looking for that. I tell you what – if they made between €5,000 and €10,000 profit per unit, they’d be delighted with themselves, they’d be more than happy.”
“I’m asking you minister, is it possible to actually activate a lot of the smaller sites and get the smaller builder back in but then we’re back to the finance problem again. Can the State start organising the finance for them? Because the banks won’t give it them, the banks don’t want to lend to him.
“Most of the building that’s going on in this town today is being done by investment funds and the Irish banks are not even funding it but these guys come up with their own money and they’re dominating what’s being built at the moment. You have the Kennedy Wilsons and the [inaudible] now building but they’re only building for the rental market – so they don’t have to worry about selling them at a low price.”
More to follow.