A Galway TD is proposing that first time buyers who purchase existing vacant homes in areas suffering from depopulation should receive a grant of €15,000.
Galway-Roscommon TD Denis Naughten says that a once off Regional Home Regeneration Grant would help address a regional imbalance in population growth by encouraging people to move to towns and villages with high residential vacancy rates.
Deputy Naughten was speaking in the Dáil during a debate on an affordable housing motion brought forward by Deputy Eoin Ó Broin.
The Independent TD said that in addressing the housing crisis in Ireland, the government should bring families into communities “where the taxpayer has already paid for infrastructure such as schools, roads, water and sewerage treatment facilities.”
“Infrastructure like schools is already in place in many parts of our country but we still have a problem in locations because of depopulation. We need to address that imbalance.”
It costs the Department of Housing €30,714 to put infrastructure in place for every new serviced site in this country, Deputy Naughten said, at a time when there are roughly 50,000 vacant homes in the country.
“The reality is that there are quite a number of rural villages around Ireland that have access to 1,000 Mbps high-speed broadband and that also have vacant houses while struggling to maintain student numbers in local primary schools.”
“Surely, it would make sense to spend just half of this €30,000 to bring life back into vacant homes while taking some of the pressure off the housing, road and water infrastructure in Dublin and our other cities”.
He suggested that this €15,000 grant could be offset against mortgage deposit requirements.
This deposit requirement can often be a significant impediment for first time buyers seeking a mortgage from a bank.