Housing Minister: 'What we don't yet have is a way of calculating every single home built in the country'

Update 5.55pm: The Housing Minister has admitted they can not track how many homes were built in Ireland last year.

They unveiled figures earlier which showed just 2,245 social homes were built in 2017, 8% below target.

The figures also show 4,000 people exited homelessness last year, yet the number of homeless people still went up.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy admitted they are not sure how many new homes were built last year.

"We produced the quarterly construction report - the last one was in Q3 of September - we'll have the next one, for the end of '17, probably the end of February, early March," the Housing Minister said.

"We have complete confidence in those numbers because they are our numbers.

"What we don't yet have is a way of calculating every single home built in the country, across the social and the private side."

- Digital Desk

Earlier: Government built just over 2,000 social homes in 2017 

Local Authorities failed to meet social house building targets last year, but Government exceeded its overall target for new social housing supports by 23%, writes Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter for the Irish Examiner.

Publishing a Report on Housing Delivery in 2017 under Rebuilding Ireland, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said: "There is more work to do, clearly. We have even greater ambitions for 2018, particularly on the build side."

While Government targets on acquisitions, putting voids back into use and HAP placements all exceeded targets in 2017, the number of homes built fell short of what had been expected.

Government had set a target of building 2,434 new social homes through local authorities and Approved Housing Body construction. But just 2,245 units were built last year.

But Mr Murphy pointed out that this was still 1,588 more units than were built in 2016.

He said the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) had performed "strongly".

The target for HAP of 15,000 was exceeded by nearly 3,000, with 17,916 new HAP tenancies established in 2017.

Mr Murphy added that Government have changed the delivery mix for 2018, "meaning we will be aiming to do more on the build side and less on the acquisitions side".

"But where buying makes sense, and where it’s not competing with young families or couples in the market, Local Authorities will continue to do it," he said.

The figures also show that 100 new households had their social housing need met each working day of the week in 2017.

Overall, it is estimated that some 4,000 exits from homelessness were achieved in 2017, which is 33% higher than in 2016.

Mr Murphy said: "I’m not saying that all is now well with our housing system and that further interventions will not be needed to continue to repair our recently broken housing system. There is more that we need to do and I know that.

"It’s also important to note that Rebuilding Ireland is a 5 year plan, and we are only about 18 months in to that plan.

"But they’ve been a very strong 18 months. This last year – 2017 – in particular."

He added: "These figures tell us that Rebuilding Ireland is working, that we are moving in the right direction – and we are moving there more quickly than had originally been planned.

"People can have confidence in the work that we are doing to repair a recently broken housing system and to get tens of thousands of new homes built."

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