Letter: Blaming Homeowners for Lack of Affordable Housing

Jude Webber’s article (“Housing Policy Helps Sinn Féin Leave Most of Its Problems Behind,” Global Insight, December 14) addresses important issues far beyond Ireland. Much of the English-speaking world is struggling with unaffordable housing with causes similar to those in Ireland.

Much of Ireland’s town planning scheme dates back to the 1960s and borrowed heavily from the English Town and Rural Planning Act of 1947. Property owners could no longer develop, expand or demolish structures or alter the property. use of properties, except with official permission. In addition, neighbors and foreigners were able to oppose such an authorization without demonstrating any significant loss of value for their properties or public harm.

Over the decades, this has gradually blocked the supply of housing that people with median incomes can afford without help from their parents. While supply has been tight, financial liberalization since the 1980s and Ireland’s transformation in 1987-2001 into a high-income economy have boosted demand and prices.

Governments have tried a lot of things, but unless they rethink the concept that the rights of homeowners to meet demand – and to develop their properties – must be limited and that non-owners can veto them. such responses to consumer demand, things will not improve much.

Jonathan malone

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