Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on the Minister for Finance to explain why Home Building Finance Ireland has provided €264 million to developers for housing developments that were known to be subject to forward purchase agreements with investment funds.
This information was provided to Deputy Doherty in response to a Parliamentary Question and is given below.
Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:
“We have known for some time that the block purchase of homes by investment funds is a direct consequence of Government policy, encouraged by the tax exemptions given to them by Government.
“It is now clear that not only is the Government allowing these funds to operate tax free on their profits, they are also giving hundreds of euros of taxpayers’ money to developers for homes that have been pre-sold to investments funds and will never come on the market.
“Since it was launched by the Minister for Finance in 2018, Home Building Finance Ireland has provided €264 million to developers in the knowledge that the homes they were building, 916 units, were already subject to forward purchase agreements with investment funds.
“In May last year, Home Building Finance Ireland launched the €300 million Momentum Fund.
“€190 million of it, over 60 percent, has been given to developers for homes that are already subject to forward purchase agreements with investment funds.
“This is taxpayers’ money.
“In total, Home Building Finance Ireland have given €264 million of taxpayers’ money to developers for homes that they knew were going to be sold, in bulk, to investment funds.
“This is the State providing funding for homes that they know will be denied to struggling home buyers, and instead sold to investment funds to then rent out for extortionate prices.
“The Minister for Finance has serious questions to answer.
“Who were the developers to whom €264 million was given, and who are the investment funds who had already agreed to snap up the homes that the taxpayer financed?
“What rents will now be charged on these homes that the taxpayer has financed?
“And why is this Government using taxpayers’ money to finance homes they know will be sold to investment funds and rented out at extortionate prices?
“For weeks now the Government have argued that developers could not access finance for home building unless they were able to bulk sale entire developments to investment funds.
“Last week the Tánaiste told the Dáil that HBFI had financed one or a handful of build to rent developments.
“In fact, the majority of HBFI finance has gone to build-to-rent developments that were known to be already subject to purchase by investment funds.
“The Government need to explain why they are using hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money to price struggling buyers out of home ownership.”