Irish property council urges scrappage scheme for 'poor' homes
A LOBBY group that represents small-scale property investors is calling on the Government to introduce a "scrappage scheme" for poor quality houses, mirroring last year's scrappage scheme for older cars.
The proposal is outlined in a pre-Budget submission from the Irish Property Council (IPC), which represents smaller developers, property investors and builders who've been hit by the property crash.
IPC member Seamus Savage last night said the scrappage scheme would help both developers and householders, by enabling people to live in better conditions and taking some supply out of the property market.
He was vague on how exactly the scheme would work but said it could be used to help people in private housing, or those living in "inadequate" homes, by moving them to empty houses.
"Right now, there are a lot of people living in completely inappropriate houses and there are quality houses lying empty," he said. "This goes some way to addressing that."
As well as suggesting various stimuli for the property market, the IPC is also recommending a flat-rate €100 water charge across every household in Ireland and making proposals around the implementation of property tax.
"We've taken some hard decisions here too," said Mr Savage, stressing that the overall IPC package was "neutral" from a fiscal point of view.
The water charge should be introduced as a stopgap measure until full metering can be rolled out, the IPC recommends.
On a property tax, the IPC says that flat rates should be introduced linked to the value of homes.
Other proposals include introducing a first-time buyers' grant of €5,000 and a warranty scheme that would insulate buyers against negative equity for the first ten years of their mortgage (to be funded by lenders).
"What we're trying to do is unlock some activity in the property sector," said Mr Savage, pointing out that "nothing" was happening now.