The boss of one of the State's largest house builders -- stock market-listed Glenveagh Properties -- has called for a raft of incentives to boost supply and predicts that, at best, the industry will build only 23,000 homes this year.
Stephen Garvey said the measures should include the Central Bank relaxing its income rule for mortgage borrowers, cutting the Vat rate on homes with low asking prices, and changing the Help-To-Buy scheme, as well as a range of other measures such as helping the supply of student accommodation. The builder, which is focused on the Dublin region but which also has sites in Cork and Limerick, posted a net profit of €22.8m in 2019 on revenues of €284.6m
Mr Garvey told reporters "there was no magic wand" to conjure up new supply and estimated that new home builds would only rise to between 22,000 and 23,000 units in 2020. Last year, 21,500 new homes were built, far short of the 35,000 units that are widely believed to be needed to meet demand.
Any new social-homes building programme would require the resources of the private sector, he said.
"If anything, what the Government needs to focus on is how do they stimulate more supply into the market," he said. He said that a housebuilder like Glenveagh can't physically provide a house for €155,000, which would be around the price an individual first-time buyer on an average income can borrow.
On proposals for rent freezes, he said they do little to boost supply, and apartments in city centres were expensive to build and builders needed to incentives to build them, he said. Mr Garvey said that vacant site tax helps encourage supply but he questioned whether it had been fully rolled out. He said house were moving at a steady pace across in Dublin and Cork. Amid the latest market sell-off, Glenveagh shares fell 1% and have now fallen 11% in the past year.