The Government has launched what Taoiseach Micheál Martin described as an "unprecedented" housing strategy underpinned by €4 billion in guaranteed State funding annually for the next five years.

Housing For All promises to deliver 300,000 new homes by 2030.

The Taoiseach said the plan is "unprecedented in our country's history, in terms of its scope, its scale and its ambition".

Describing the housing crisis as a "social emergency", the Taoiseach said delivering on the plan was critical and a Cabinet sub-committee will ensure that happens, adding "there will be no place to hide".

However, Opposition parties have been underwhelmed by the announcement.

Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said today's document is a continuation of the last government's policy and "will do little to address the growing social and affordable housing crisis".

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the Land Development Agency (LDA) is going to be the country's state developer.

He said that, in time, people will "see its creation to be as big a state intervention as the IDA was or the ESB was".

Under the plan, the 300,000 homes will include 90,000 social homes, 36,000 affordable and 18,000 cost rental as well as 156,000 from the private market.

Developers will have to contribute more to social and affordable housing - from 10% to 20% in the increased value of zoned residential developments.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien said the strategy was the "largest State-led building programme in our history, eclipsing even the heydays of 40s and 50s".

He said it would be backed up by an "unprecedented financial commitment" in excess of €4 billion per annum.

The minister said there was "no silver bullet" for the housing crisis and it can't be "solved overnight".

However, Mr O'Brien said the Government was determined to deal with it.

The minister said, under the plan, homelessness should be "eliminated" by 2030. He also said the Government intends to legislate for tenancies of indefinite duration.

Mr O'Brien said Housing For All places home ownership "back in the hands of ordinary working people".

He said the First Home Scheme will see people buy their home with the help of Government by bridging the gap between the finance they have and the cost of the home they want.

The Local Authority Led Affordable Purchase Scheme will see homes at an average of €250,000 be made available across the country.

A reformed Local Authority Mortgage Scheme will see more single people eligible for State-backed mortgages, while interest rates will be reduced for all new applicants.

Mr O'Brien said: "The affordability measures provided for in this plan will set us on a path to reversing the current trend which has seen home ownership rates fall to historic lows.

Measures to stimulate supply and address acute viability challenges in urban areas will include the provision of up to 5,000 cost rental and affordable units through Project Tosaigh.

It also includes the delivery of up to 15,000 residential units, which will help to revitalise urban centres, through the provision of State land to the Land Development Agency.

The new Croí Conaithe (Cities) Fund aims to ensure new apartments will be developed for sale to individual households at a lower cost.

There will be a focus on new builds to provide social homes, with the ending of long-term social housing leasing arrangements through the phasing out of new entrants.

Access for affordable homes to buy will be expanded, through an enhanced Local Authority Home Loan Scheme, which will have an increased income ceiling for single people of €65,000 and lower loan interest rates.

Measures to use vacant lands for residential housing will be introduced, such as a new tax to replace the existing Vacant Site Levy.

And there will be measures to reduce construction costs and support innovation in residential construction .
Local authorities will be able to purchase and resell up to 2,500 vacant properties in their areas.

The Government said it is committed to establishing a Commission on Housing this year to examine issues such as tenure, standards and sustainability.

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The Commission will also bring forward proposals for a referendum on housing by examining the various proposals that have been made around potential wording for an amendment to the Constitution.

The Taoiseach said Housing For All aims to address challenges faced by many different groups including "first time buyers, renters, low income households, people experiencing homelessness, people trading up and right sizing, people starting again in life".

He said it features some "fundamental changes to planning and land use system in the country's history".

Mr Varadkar said Housing For All is a "radical new departure" on housing policy in Ireland.

The Tánaiste said the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme will be extended and expanded and this could help more people to get a mortgage that they can afford.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said that the Housing For All policy has sustainability written right the way through it through better BER ratings and transport-led development "so we build new housing around public transport".

He said the plan gives out a message to school leavers: think of going into construction with 27,000 jobs in housing construction envisaged.

The Green Party leader said that "half the housing in the lifetime of this Government is going to be delivered by the state".

Minister Ryan said: "The retrofitting of 36,500 local authority-owned properties and the introduction of minimum BERs for rental properties will help move our existing housing stock to a low-carbon future.

"This will assist with delivering on our national retrofit targets."

Asked whether introducing a minimum BER rating risked putting some housing stock out of circulation, the minister said one of the ways to avoid this was to give advanced notice.

Mr Ryan said that no-one should be in a home that is "cold or expensive to run".

Changes to preservation orders on older homes, in a effort to make it easier to restore them, will also form part of the strategy.

New scheme to help first-time buyers

The 'First Home' scheme will be available to first-time buyers seeking to purchase a newly-built home in a private development anywhere in the country.

It will be targeted at people who are seeking to buy their first home but who cannot secure the full amount required.

Consideration will be given to providing access to other designated groups such as those who have had a relationship breakdown and who no longer retain an interest in a previously owned family home.

This scheme, jointly supported by the State and participating retail banks, aims to bridge the gap for eligible purchasers between their deposit and the cost of the mortgage.

Price ceilings for eligibility will be established across the country.

The State will offer a percentage equity stake (share of the ownership) in the home equal to the difference between the open market value of the property and the price paid by the purchaser.

Full scheme details will be announced ahead of its commencement in early 2022.