01/09/2009

£92m Fall In Housing Executive Sales

There has been a major drop in sales of public housing across NI.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has seen a £92m fall in revenue generated from house and land sales in the last three years.

Acknowledging a challenging year ahead, Chairman Brian Rowntree said his organisation would continue to work with the Department of Social Development to limit the impact on tenants.

He said: "The year saw the Housing Executive's income from house and land sales fall from over £100m in 2006/07 to just over £8m.

"This money had been crucial in funding a range of housing programmes in the public and private sector .

"Without this income over recent years we would never have been successful in providing new housing, reducing unfitness to 3.4% or improving the living standards of our 90,000 tenants," he said.

Mr Rowntree said vital housing programmes have had to be prioritised, with some planned work to provide and improve housing not being carried out as "quickly as had been planned".

"However, as we publish our annual report there are the first signs that the housing market in Northern Ireland may be stabilising with an increase in housing market activity," he said.

"We will, nevertheless, take the opportunity to look at our services and programmes of work and adapt to developments in the housing market, including the private rented sector."

NI Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie said: "Housing is my first priority and whilst the shortfall in the housing budget this year has impacted on all spending programmes.

"I am determined to protect the most vulnerable households by ring fencing budgets for new build social housing to provide new homes for those in housing stress."

(PR/BMcC)

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