'Private first approach will not bring down house prices' argues Limerick economist

HOUSING:  TOP ECONOMIST CALLS FOR STATE INTERVENTION

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

'Private first approach will not bring down house prices' argues Limerick economist

Dr Stephen Kinsella, UL

A TOP local economist has said putting the private sector first will not produce any “downward pressure” on house prices.

Dr Stephen Kinsella was speaking at a public meeting on housing, organised by the Labour party in Limerick and held at the Pery Hotel.

Dr Kinsella urged the state to get involved in building more housing.

“The market is not the answer. This should be everyone’s talking point. It delivers more supply quickly, but it doesn’t reduce prices. Everyone assumes if you give people more of something, prices will go down. It’s true for things like oranges and cars, but it’s not true for houses,” he told the meeting.

The Kemmy Business School lecturer pointed out Irish governments did this “when we were a third world country”.

Local Labour TD and former Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan has urged a vacant homes tax and measures to stop the hoarding of land when there is an urgent need for housing.

“There isn’t one answer. But there are over 700 publicly owned pieces of land suitable for housing construction. Therein lies a real opportunity to have a mix of social and affordable housing, and housing at affordable rents. We need sticks as well as carrots,” she said.

Also addressing the housing meeting were Anne Cronin of homelessness charity Novas and Dan O’Neill, of Siptu.