Minister ‘confident’ he can reverse downward trend in home ownership

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien (PA/Cillian Sherlock)
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien (PA/Cillian Sherlock)

The Minister for Housing has said he is confident he can reverse the downward trend of homeownership seen since the census of 1991.

Darragh O’Brien said that decline has “levelled off”.

He said: “There is no question there’s been a drastic decline over the last 30 years in homeownership, but we’re seeing starting to reverse.”

Asked if this would be reflected in the next census, he added: “I would be confident that we will see that being reversed.”

Speaking at the opening of three parks as part of the development of the Cherrywood strategic development zone, Mr O’Brien said measures had been put in place to increase housing supply after significant undersupply for more than a decade.

“We’re turning the corner in that space,” he added.

The minister said measures like the Help To Buy grant and First Home scheme have supported more than 40,000 households in purchasing a property.

He added: “Last year one-in-two new properties actually bought were bought by first time buyers.

“We’ve seen over 10,000 first time buyers draw down for mortgages, actually in the first quarter of this year.”

He said reversing the trend of homeownership is a priority for government.

He added: “That is an absolute priority for us that people who are working hard to be able to buy their own home.

“But we don’t do that at the expense of delivering social homes either, we delivered more social homes last year than we’ve done in nearly 50 years and we’ll do more than that this year.”