State funding for just 10,100 homes has been drawn down in the past five years, even though approval has been given for 17,350 homes, TDs and Senators will be told.
The State’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA) will tell the Oireachtas Housing Committee that it intends to double its loan book by end-2026 delivering 19,000 new homes and 3,300 new student beds.
In his opening statement to the committee, the Irish Examiner reports, Barry O’Leary, the agency’s chief executive will say the total outstanding loan book of the HFA on December 31, 2021, was €5.9 billion.
In terms of loan values over the past five years, funding of €3.6 billion has been approved to deliver 17,350 homes. However, actual drawdowns in that period only amounted to €2.3 billion which has delivered 10,100 homes, a shortfall of 7,250.
Defending the shortfall, Mr O’Leary will tell the committee that depending on the type of project, the timeframe for conversion from loan approval to loan advances can be between a year and 30 months.
Mr O'Leary will say the HFA is self-financing and does not receive any subvention from the Exchequer.
The majority of the HFA’s loan book of €5.9 billion is loaned to local authorities and approved housing bodies (€3.33bn and €2.42bn, respectively), Mr O’Leary will say.
Committee members will be told that in 2017 funding approval for 2,150 units was given at a projected cost of €336 million. However, just €171 million was drawn down and just 1,150 units were completed.
In 2021, funding of €984 million was approved to deliver 4,100 units, but in total €709 million was extended delivering 2,850 units, a shortfall of 1,250.
Currently, 56 per cent of the HFA’s outstanding loan book represents loans to local authorities (LAs). The agency’s plan up to 2026 forecasts a further €1.45 billion to be lent to LAs over the next five years.
On its Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme, which was in early 2021, the HFA will say it approved a total of €93 million in Affordable Housing Cost Rental Funding (AHCRS) for the provision of 390 affordable rental homes in March 2021.
Mr O’Leary will say the HFA has an appetite for providing more finance for cost-rental schemes and has estimated a further €850 million in cost-rental finance in its 2026 plan.