EXPANDING first-time buyer initiatives to vacant and derelict homes will be a big help for young people in County Mayo looking to buy and renovate their own homes, says Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon.
The Mayo TD has welcomed the government’s announcement to allow vacant and derelict properties to be turned into homes without the requirement of planning permission
Deputy Dillon said: ‘Supply is the biggest problem we currently face in terms of housing, and a real opportunity exists in our current vacant housing stock which would bolster the supply already promised and delivered as part of by Housing For All.
“Fine Gael recently published a discussion paper on Vacant Housing and Renewal in December, in which we presented 26 proposals for consideration which build on the policies planned in Housing for All and City Center of on board.
“One of those proposals was to extend the first-time buyer initiatives to vacant and derelict properties and we are delighted to see the minister have taken up our suggestion.”
He continued: “Different estimates indicate that there are currently between 42,000 and 92,000 vacant properties in Ireland, which is admittedly against the grain when I hear so often from couples and singles struggling to buy their first home.
“In a report published by GeoDirectory and prepared by EY, Mayo was identified in the top three counties for the highest residential vacancy and abandonment rate in the fourth quarter of 2021 with a residential vacancy rate of 11 .9% and an abandoned address rate of 13.2%, followed by Donegal (12.0%) and Galway (8.8%)
“Extending first-time homebuyer supports such as the Purchase Assistance Scheme and the soon-to-be-introduced Equity Share Scheme so that they can be used to purchase not only new builds but also vacant and derelict homes, will increase the supply of homes available to first-time buyers and also assist in the regeneration of local properties that have become dilapidated and eye sores in the local community.
Deputy Dillon added: ‘Of course, buying a vacant home would not be suitable for all first-time buyers, but for those looking for a place where they can renovate and remodel, homeownership assistance programs purchase or equity sharing should be available to help them do this.
“It can be so daunting to feel left out of buying a home in your area of choice, yet take a walk around your area and see examples of empty or derelict homes that have the potential to make the perfect house with some work.
“Solving the current housing crisis requires our most innovative solutions and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t focus on building new homes while finding creative ways to make our empty housing stock an option. serious for first-time buyers.”