Darragh O'Brien says issue of investment funds buying up estates is "complex" 1 month ago

Darragh O'Brien says issue of investment funds buying up estates is "complex"

It comes after an estate of 112 houses in Maynooth was purchased by an investment group.

Minister for Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien has said that the issue of investment funds buying up estates is "complex".

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The Minister told Ireland AM that he does not support the buying of housing estates by investment funds, however, he added, there is "only so much I [he] can do in one respect for planning".

“We have to level the playing pitch for first-time buyers and I don't support investment funds buying up whole or sometimes large parts of housing estates that should be for first-time buyers, it's as simple as that," he said.

"It's complex in one respect, it requires a whole Government approach."

O’Brien confirmed that he is examining a stipulation requiring a higher percentage of all new developments to be set aside for direct purchase by first-time buyers, adding that he believes the purchases are "a legacy issue".

"One reason for those funds being here, and it is a legacy issue, they've been here for a number of years, can be down to tax treatment," he added.

“Those estates should be designated for families and individuals."

O'Brien also said that the Government “had no line of sight in the Maynooth situation".

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The Government came under fire earlier this week after an estate of 112 houses in Kildare was bought by an institutional investor.

Speaking in the Dáil earlier this week, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the investment fund had "robbed" first-time buyers of the opportunity to buy their own home.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the purchase of completed housing estates by institutional investors is “unacceptable” and that the purpose of institutional investors was to “add supply, not to displace supply”.

He added that the Government has to distinguish between “good capital and bad capital” when dealing with these companies.