During the week (Mon and Wed) Drivetime carried out a survey on the amount of money local authorities spent on social and affordable housing at the height of the property boom.
Reporter, Fergal Keane, described some of the findings as frightening.
According to Keane the state (taxpayer) is the biggest loser as a result of this buying spree because all these properties are now worth considerably less than the original price.
Some of the properties were bought from controversial people like, for example, those who were involved in propping up the Anglo Irish share deal.
Dun Laoighaire Rathdown:
€88 million in a three year period the bulk of which was paid out in 2007 – the magic year for developers.
Fingal County Council:
€252 million in the last five years. The Council refused to say who bought the houses or how much was paid for individual units on the grounds that they need written permission from those involved. Most of the houses were bought in 2007.
Cork County Council:
2004 – €930,000 for 6 two bed roomed houses.
2005 – €7.7 million for 42 units.
2006 – €12.67 million for 64 units.
2007 – €60 million on 231 social houses. Most of these houses were massively above the market price.
Galway City Council:
2003 – 1 house for €157,000.
2004 – 6 houses for €1.1 million.
2005 – 4 houses for €743,000.
2006 – 26 apartments for €4.48 million.
2007 – €37.1 million for125 houses. Six times more houses than the previous year at nearly ten times the cost.
Dublin City Council:
2006 – Bought 85 houses.
2007 – Bought 416 houses. Five times more than the previous year. Over half a million was paid for some of these houses.
In 2007 Dublin City Council was the biggest property buyer on the market. In the last five years the Council spent a massive €428 million on social and affordable housing, the bulk of which was bought in the developers magic year of 2007.
The most curious response to this survey came from Fingal County Council when they refused to say who bought the houses or how much was paid for individual units on the grounds that they need written permission from those involved.
This excuse is ridiculous and I believe illegal. If it was a legitimate response then we could, for example, have the local drug baron doing deals with officials and nobody would have the right to ask any awkward questions unless the local druggie agreed to release the information.