Housing crisis

OPINION: Solving the housing crisis must remain the government’s top priority

Last week, preliminary results from the 2022 census showed there were an astonishing 166,000 vacant properties in the state on census night last April.

In Offaly, out of a total stock of 32,151 homes, 2,663 properties were vacant.

These figures appear to contradict findings that there are currently just under 1,000 properties available to rent across the country and less than ten in Offaly.

Meanwhile, Daft.ie’s latest sales report, published on Monday, showed house prices in Offaly rose by 11% in the second quarter of 2022, compared to the same period last year.

The average house price in the county is now £238,000, 97 per cent above its lowest point during the post-Celtic Tiger era property slump.

These staggering statistics confirm that the country is in the throes of a major housing crisis which particularly affects those trying to get into real estate and those looking for rental accommodation,

As such, the introduction of measures to encourage more owners into the rental market and the construction of more houses by private contractors must be a priority for this government and subsequent administrations.

But the current government must also up its game and intervene directly in the situation by building more social housing for those who will never be able to buy their own homes.

Ireland also needs a functioning housing market to attract and retain talent to our shores if the country is to sustain economic growth, particularly given the major international threats to the global economy.

In its recent pre-budget submission, Chartered Accountants Ireland, claimed the government viewed the private rental market as a source of tax, and ‘this is the wrong approach in a housing crisis‘.

Cróna Clohisey, head of tax and public policy at the agency, said that “landlords are an essential feature of a fully functioning residential real estate market, but in general landlords see it as no longer economical. for them to continue in the market.In the Irish tax system, business owners with rental properties enjoy more favorable tax treatment, at 25%, while individuals face rates of 52% and the -of the.

“The 25% rate should be extended to individuals to address some of the inequalities. By removing the disparities, the tax system could be effectively leveraged to encourage owners to stay in the market and new entrants to meet the supply shortage, the submission recommends.

The submission also proposes: Local property tax should be allowed as a deduction from rental income; Wear rates for fixtures and fittings should be increased from 12.5pc to 25pc per year to help owners invest in property maintenance; When owners renovate a property to improve its energy rating, 100% of the capital allowances must be offered during the working year.

To incentivize loss-making landlords to stay in the market, rental losses in a tax year could be used against other income (such as employment income) to reduce tax liability, the document says.

These suggestions deserve a fair hearing from the government as it considers further action to tackle the housing and shelter crisis.

Ireland’s population is growing at one of the fastest rates in the developed world and the 26 counties are now home to over 5.1 million people, the highest since the Great Famine of the 1840s.

The population, between net migration and natural increase, is growing by more than 60,000 people a year.

As a result, there will be no decline in housing and rental housing demand for the foreseeable future.

As such, the government must place the housing issue firmly at the top of its agenda and take realistic measures that will have a real impact on the market.