The number of homes provided by approved housing bodies grew by 10% last year, according to the latest report from the Irish Council for Social Housing.
It amounts to almost 5,000 new social and cost rental homes – surpassing its target of 40% of total social housing delivery.
The Government did, however, miss its own overall target for social housing last year.
The Chief Executive of the Irish Council for Social Housing, the federation representing over 270 housing associations, has said a number of schemes that were delayed due to Covid came through last year.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Donal McManus said this year “is positive too” and the target of 5,000 homes will be surpassed in 2023.
“At the moment we have over 12,000 homes in the pipeline for family and for special needs housing and for next year about, I’d say there’s 7,000 homes are in the pipeline to deliver” for 2024.
But for this year “we would estimate we would surpass our 5,000 limit this year”.
He said that in 2024 and 2025, the Government needs to use the land acquisition fund on an annual basis.
Donal McManus said it can take up to three years from identifying a site to completing building
“So we’re calling Government to make sure that acquisition fund is there for subsequent years.”
He said: “There are challenges in terms of the types of schemes we use; if the interest rate changes next year, that may affect our cost rental scheme and so forth.
“So, we’re constantly trying to work with Government to adjust the terms of the schemes to make sure we can guarantee delivery.”
He explained that the simple thing is the land acquisition fund is required for subsequent years.
“Our members have identified land, local authorities have as well. The fund is both for local authorities and for housing associations.”
He said the land is there and different sites have been identified that could be acquired.
“There was a call recently for land under this fund and members have identified the number of sites like the local authorities as well. So we need to have that on an annual basis”.
Mr McManus said that it can take up to three years from identifying the site to having houses completed.
He said that “certainly this land acquisition fund, if that was on an annualised basis, that would help both approved housing bodies and local authorities in identifying a continuous increase supply of sites”.
He added that planning is an issue with some of the housing bodies stuck in judicial reviews with the private sector.
“So that has delayed a number of schemes.”
He said if the Government was going to streamline, under the new planning bill, things like judicial review, the planning time scales, “that certainly would help delivery”.