Council seeking to buy homes ‘off the plans’ to help ease housing crisis

Meath County Council has put out a call to developers offering to buy homes “off the plans” in areas most in need of social housing.

They are specifically looking for homes in Ashbourne, Bettystown, Duleek, Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin, Enfield, Kells, Laytown, Navan, Ratoath, Slane and Trim.

Home builders and housing developers are being asked to consider offering unbuilt houses or apartments with planning permission, to local authorities under an advance purchase turnkey arrangement.

The call is targeted at advance purchase opportunities for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 150 dwellings in any one scheme.

“This advance purchase opportunity has been put in place to provide for accelerated delivery of housing generally, and primarily, to provide affordable homes for eligible applicants nominated by the local authority in areas where a significant need for affordable or social housing has been identified,” according to a council spokesperson.

“It is anticipated that local authorities will enter into an advance purchase agreement for an approved number of homes, with payment on completion. The advance purchase agreement also provides for the direct sale of homes by the developer to an eligible purchaser nominated by the local authority. Joint venture arrangements that include an Approved Housing Body (AHB) will also be considered.”

Under the 'Housing for All' Plan, significant funding streams are available to Meath County Council to increase the number of new-build local authority homes for social and affordable housing.

Meath County Council can make an application to the new Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) to assist in meeting the cost of delivery of affordable housing and deliver affordability to approved purchasers and renters. This AHF forms part of an overall affordable housing budget which will provide €2.9 billion over the period to 2030 to deliver homes for affordable purchase and rent.

Home builders and housing developers are asked to contact Meath County Council housing department for more information and to submit an expression of interest. The local authority will consider the initial proposal and, should it meet housing needs, cost and eligibility criteria, additional information will be sought to move forward with the process.

Meath County Council’s Director of Service for Housing, Mr Barry Lynch said “Under the Housing for All plan, Meath County Council will significantly increase our provision of social and affordable housing over the coming years. The new Affordable Housing Fund is a very important measure towards that ambition, allowing greater and more efficient delivery of homes at below market rates. I urge all home builders and housing developers to consider the many benefits of an advance purchase arrangement with Meath County Council, including financial surety and efficiency. Entering an arrangement with us will also provide much needed homes and help to build sustainable communities.”