The new Agency has an immediate focus on managing the State’s own lands to develop new homes, and regenerate under-utilised sites. In the longer-term, it will assemble strategic landbanks from a mix of public and private lands, making these available for housing in a controlled manner which brings essential long-term stability to the Irish housing market.
The LDA is modelled on best European practice as already demonstrated in Germany and the Netherlands. The Goverment believes that by assembling land packages ahead of the planning and infrastructure stages, the Agency can lower development land costs and tackle upward pressure on house prices.
The Agency will be a commercial State-sponsored body, acting within a clear Government policy framework – that all public land disposals must deliver at least 40% of any housing potential on such lands in the form of social (10%) and affordable (30%) housing. It will establish a national centre of expertise for State bodies and local authorities, using experienced staff with expertise in project management finance, planning, development and procurement. It will be further underpinned by dedicated legislation, overseen by an independent board and provided with both the initial and long-term capital to function on a commercial basis.
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar said: “The Land Development Agency, with capital of €1.25 billion behind it, is a step change in the Government’s involvement in the housing market. We are going to build new homes and lots of them. That includes social housing, affordable housing, private housing and cost rental housing on both publicly and privately owned land. “While the indicators show that the numbers of new houses being built is up by more than a third compared to this time last year and is increasing month on month, we are still facing a huge challenge in meeting demand. We know we are playing catch up after our housing sector was destroyed. “The Land Development Agency is a Government intervention that is 50 years overdue and which, in time, I believe will be seen to be as significant as the decision to establish the ESB, Aer Lingus or the IDA.”