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Daft.ie report sparks Ireland housing row as Leo Varadkar says rents are 'too high'

By Ciara Phelan

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government plans to build around 10,000 social homes this year.

Mr Varadkar faced intense scrutiny in the Dail on Thursday as Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty blasted the Government over the housing crisis following a shocking new rent report.

The property report by Daft.ie has revealed rents across the country rose by 12% in comparison to this time last year hitting an average monthly cost of €1,567.

READ MORE: Homeless man found dead near Government office in Dublin

Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty said with every week that passes, the housing crisis “spirals out of control.” He said: “You’ve said you believe in home ownership, you’ve a very funny way of showing it.”

In response, Mr Varadkar admitted "there can be no doubt that rents are too high in Ireland".

He said: “Far too many people have to spend too much of their income on rent too often at the expense of other things; saving to buy a house, perhaps paying into a pension fund or investing in their own education or that of their children and it is a dual crisis.

“It’s one of affordability and availability and sometimes when you try to improve one of those things you can make the other one worse.”

He also said it’s clear landlords are selling up and leaving the market and said to Mr Doherty: “I often hear you and others say they’re making a killing. That’s not the case because if that was the case they wouldn’t be selling up and leaving.”

Mr Varadkar said "we have to encourage landlords to continue to rent out their properties".

Renting in the capital now costs on average €2,100 per month - jumping by 10% in a year. In Cork, rents rose by 10.2% costing on average €1,607 while Galway saw rents soar by almost 14% at a cost of €1,585 per month.

Shockingly, the property report shows there were only 51 homes available to rent nationally on its website as of May, 1.

Mr Varadkar added: “In terms of social housing we anticipate this year about 10,000 new social homes will be added to the housing stock. It's important to get people off the housing list but also frees up properties for people who may want to rent or buy.”

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty (Liam McBurney/PA Wire)

Mr Doherty said the Government’s plan to give between €120,000 and €144,000 to developers per apartment was "madness".

The move by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is to bridge the gap between spiralling construction costs and market value.

Mr Doherty said: “Of all the pro-developer schemes your government has come up with, this one takes the biscuit. The scheme that you claim is about increasing affordability explicitly rules out discounts for purchasers.

“It’s a big payday for developers and there’s zero, zilch, nada for those who are desperately seeking to purchase affordable homes in our city.”

He called on the Tanaiste to “scrap the scheme handing out €450m to developers,” and to use the money to deliver homes that people can afford to buy.

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Dive Deeper:
Increase in rent prices is ‘madness’ and ‘proves Government’s plan is failing’
Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar has defended the Government’s housing plan after Sinn Fein criticised its subsidy scheme…
Taoiseach says Government can only deal with soaring rents 'by supply of new housing'
A new property report by Daft.ie showed there were only 851 homes available to rent nationally on its website as…
Pat Flanagan column: Big builders getting huge handouts makes little sense
Whatever happened to capitalism and the free market, or is that only for the little guy?
Charities flag concerns over planned changes to Fair Deal scheme
Charities have told an Oireachtas committee that they have concerns about Government housing plans for older people.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Micheal Martin and Mary Lou McDonald clash over maternity hospital plans
Taoiseach Micheal Martin has accused Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald of “playing politics”, in another heated exchange in the…
Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald clash over National Maternity Hospital plans
Concerns have been raised about the ownership structure of the NMH at a new site
Get all your news in one place