Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Rules eased on affordable housing in Docklands

FALLING PROPERTY prices have forced the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) to significantly alter the ownership conditions of their affordable housing scheme.

The authority yesterday announced that 40 apartments built under the affordable scheme would be available to buy under the same conditions as any property sold on the open market.

This means that buyers can later sell the property without any penalty.

Usually buyers of affordable properties have to pay a “claw-back” to the authority of the percentage of discount they received, if they sell their house within 20 years.

These new conditions apply to properties which have prices only marginally below the open market value.

“These are no longer sufficiently attractive to purchasers who could otherwise buy on the open market without restrictions,” the authority said in a statement.

However the authority has not reduced the price of the affordable apartments, only the conditions under which they are purchased.

The properties will be on offer to qualified applicants on Dublin City Council’s affordable housing list rather than to the general public.

Among the 40 units are 20 apartments in Spencer Dock in the north Docklands, while in the south Docklands, it includes 14 apartments in The Waterfront and some apartments in Longboat Quay and Butler’s Court.

Depending on the location, prices range from €210,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to €295,000 for a three-bedroom apartment.

“In these difficult times, the Docklands Authority is making every effort to ensure that qualified applicants can take advantage of our schemes and so have adjusted the conditions accordingly,” said the authority’s chief executive, Paul Moloney.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley recently gave local authorities permission to sell affordable houses on the open market to get rid of a backlog of thousands of unsold houses which are costing councils millions in bridging loans and fees.

A further 35 affordable units in the Docklands will still retain the “claw-back” provision because of a significant difference with the market price.

A two-bedroom apartment in Forbes Quay in the south Docklands is €90,000 less than the current market value, the authority said.

The authority aims to have 20 per cent social and affordable housing in the Docklands area.

Since 1997, almost half of the 773 social and affordable units certified have been completed. The authority still plans to complete the rest of these units, a spokeswoman said.

The authority is holding an open day for the 75 affordable apartments on May 7th, 9th and 10th.

Sales are open to anyone on the council’s affordable housing list who registers interest in the apartments by April 17th.

Further information is available on

Irish Times

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