Responding to this week’s vacant homes strategy, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers (IPAV ) said it is unlikely the strategy can impact hugely on the housing crisis, given its scale and the complexity of measures involved, such as facilitating the use of vacant properties of those in nursing home care.
Pat Davitt, IPAV’s chief executive, has said that while Minister Murphy himself has acknowledged that this announcement is just part of the strategy, the IPAV is encouraging the Government not to expend a great deal of energy on something that is likely to be fraught with legal and justice issues.
“Last year’s Housing Agency study - “Tackling Empty Homes” - found the issue of vacancy is most acute in areas such as the upper Shannon and the west and not in urban areas where demand is most acute,” Mr Davitt said. “Quite apart from that, it is highly questionable as to whether or not an additional State levy should be placed on houses in respect of which a property tax is already being paid.”
Mr Davitt said it is critical that Government budget policy would remain firmly focused on delivering new homes.
“Demand is at unprecedented levels and this is continuing to push up prices and rents,” he commented. “The Government is going to have to employ more dramatic interventions.”
He added that to date there have been too many isolated measures that have adversely affected confidence.
“We need industry-wide measures that tackle the big impediments. And it needs to be done on a mass scale for a limited period of time with the aim of delivering more homes and at prices that people on average wages can afford,” he said.
According to Mr Davit, some of the key issues IPAV has been urging the Government to tackle are: the prohibitive cost of building finance; the cost of construction; and high local authority levies.