More than 13,000 homes could be built under new billion-euro LDA plan

Detailed negotiations around budget of Land Development Agency ongoing for last number of months

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has indicated that at least 13,000 new homes could be delivered if the Government agrees to ramp up funding to the body by up to €8 billion.

The Irish Times reported earlier this week the Government is discussing moves to redirect up to €8 billion from a new sovereign wealth fund into housing, as part of a fresh push to boost the supply of social and affordable homes.

It is understood the LDA told Government as part of talks in relation to an increased budget that the extra funding could deliver at least 13,000 homes with a pipeline for thousands more every year after 2028.

There have been detailed discussions in recent months between the agency and Government around what could be delivered if extra funding was allocated.


“A lot of work and thought has gone into this, at a time when there is an increased ambition around the scale of the agency,” a source said.

The LDA, which was set up in 2018 to build homes on State lands, is now also looking to enter into new partnerships with private developers to build on both public and private land.

The agency’s budget was originally set at €1.25 billion but it has taken on extra responsibilities under the Government’s Housing for All plan, backing developers building “affordable” homes on private lands.

It is understood that the extra funding would also help to ramp up the delivery of cost rental units, which allow tenants to pay a lower rent.

This could involve an expansion of the Project Tosaigh plan, which aims to deliver 5,000 homes by 2026. Under this project, the LDA will step in to purchase stalled or unviable housing projects, partnering with a developer and buying the homes on completion and then making them available for affordable purchase or cost rental.

Previously, the money was paid to developers upon completion. Under a new plan, the LDA will buy the land and co-develop with the developer and then pay staged payments when certain construction targets are met.

There is an increased urgency around the extra interventions, given the recent increase in interest rates. Because of this, many planning permissions which include apartment blocks have become unviable for the private sector buyer market. The LDA is, therefore, working more closely with developers and making payments during construction in an attempt to ensure housing schemes are viable.

The Government has already said the targets in the Housing for All plan – which aims for around 33,000 new homes a year – need to be closer to 40,000 a year.

There is also an increased pressure within the Coalition to get to grips with the housing crisis, given a potential general election date in late 2024.

The LDA is also tendering to form a panel of ten or more developers to deliver affordable housing. This would mean that the agency could pick from a list of developers for future projects without having to tender individually, saving time and potentially speeding up the delivery of projects.

The LDA also last month sought expressions of interest from landowners to allow it to purchase sites on which it can build affordable housing.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times