EU approves Croí Cónaithe Scheme to deliver thousands of build-to-buy apartments

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has welcomed the European Commission’s approval of Ireland’s State aid application for the Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Scheme. The scheme is a fund to support the building of 5,000 apartments for sale to owner-occupiers.

Ireland received notification from the Directorate General for Competition in the European Commission (DG Compet) that it has deemed the scheme compatible with the internal market. This decision enables The Housing Agency to conclude its first set of development agreements shortly and as a matter of priority.

The Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Scheme aims to bridge the current ‘Viability Gap’ in delivery – between the cost of building apartments and the market sale price (where the cost of building is greater). In May 2022, The Housing Agency invited Expressions of Interest from proposers with planning permission to build apartment developments in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. Twenty-six proposals were submitted by 16 different proposing entities.

Currently, the agency is concluding appraisals of projects with a potential for up to 2,100 apartments. A second call under the scheme is expected to be announced in the coming months.

Welcoming the Commission’s decision, Minister O’Brien said: “The Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Scheme has had strong interest to date and I welcome today’s decision by the European Commission, which enables us to progress the first agreements for the delivery of apartments. I want to thank the Commission for their constructive engagement over the last year.

“Increasing supply is key to improving the housing market and this scheme will increase the supply of apartments for people to buy and live in within cities. It’s about giving people who wish to buy a home and live in cities greater choice and, in turn, ensuring our cities have vibrant and strong communities. My department and The Housing Agency will remain focused on progressing this scheme to increase supply.”

Bob Jordan, Chief Executive of The Housing Agency, which is managing the scheme on behalf of the department, said:

“I welcome the decision of the European Commission and look forward to working on this important scheme which will deliver a much needed supply of apartments for home purchasers in our cities.

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