Together Gibraltar yesterday announced a “sustainable” housing policy that will “address the imbalance between luxury and affordable housing” in Gibraltar.
This, the party said, will help stimulate home ownership in Gibraltar “in a non-speculating manner”.
Since 2011, 72% of new homes in the market are luxury homes in comparison to 28% of affordable housing.
In order to address this imbalance, the party proposes to put a cap on affordable homes so that they fall in line with inflation to maintain a small but steady growth.
The other proposal is to work on a new programme which ensures “affordability is tested” and people in different affordability brackets are offered opportunities within their means.
Together Gibraltar said this would ensure people are well cared for, there is no abuse and there is mobility within the existing affordable housing market.
Introducing this policy at a press conference held at the party’s headquarters in Main Street, Together Gibraltar executive member Craig Sacarello said: “Any government policy that is short-term and lacks foresight is fundamentally flawed because of the sustainable angle.”
“In Gibraltar we have finite resources and finite land.”
“If we look at new owners, someone who is lucky enough to get affordable housing, as soon as they get the keys, it goes from affordable to unaffordable as it shoots up to market prices.”
“The gap all of a sudden widens and the next lot that comes in can no longer afford to buy these homes, making them unaffordable.”
“We cannot build more.”
“At some point we have to address this, Gibraltar deserves better.”
Together Gibraltar also introduced a new council called “The Commission for Lands”.
This council would be composed of the Minister for Housing, the Opposition spokesperson for housing, a representative from Land Property Services, a representative from Action for Housing, one representative from the environmental NGOs and a representative from the Chartered Institute of Surveyors.
Together Gibraltar proposes these meetings be held in public like the DPC meets, to consider applications for sale of all Gibraltar lands and will develop a 20-year plan for the use of government land in Gibraltar.
This policy will be transposed into a party motion and go to a vote at the Together Gibraltar AGM next Tuesday.
Leader Marlene Hassan-Nahon said this is important in a place like Gibraltar where there is an aging population to take into consideration as well.
She said: “There has to be a lot more forward planning, and we are not looking beyond the longevity of a particular administration.”
“It is simply not sustainable.”
“We are duty bound to have a plan for the future.
The party criticised the Government’s current lack of affordable housing in Gibraltar and present and said it is “neither fair nor equitable” to the average Gibraltarian who is “being priced out of the open market”.
This comes after a planning application has been filed for 22 townhouses and six villas at the former MOD site in Europa Walks.
Executive member Tamsin Suarez said: “While we understand the importance of attracting inward investment into Gibraltar and the need for some luxury developments to cater for this, this will be one of, in excess of 20 high-end development which are built or in the process of being built since this Government took office in 2011.”
“Meanwhile, everyday Gibraltarians are left with limited options as to social housing, often facing up to 10 years on the waiting list for a government rental or waiting for the next lot of affordable homes because they are priced out of the open market.”
“The continuous demand for social housing is never met while we build upmarket estates at an alarming rate using the very scarce land we have for the benefit of a privileged few.”
She highlighted that since the government came into power in 2011, some 3,000 luxury homes were built in comparison to just over 1,000 affordable homes over the past eight years.