Sunday 28 December 2014

Homes shortage changed the game

Published 23/08/2014 | 02:30

Commentators are blaming Nama and the government for the currrent housing crisis.
Commentators are blaming Nama and the government for the currrent housing crisis.

IT wasn't very long ago that anything seen as helping developers would be considered political suicide.

How things have changed. The Government is now desperately trying to provide homes for families priced out of a market crippled by a lack of supply.

The windfall tax was designed to give something back to the taxpayer after land was rezoned for housing. It didn't exist during the boom, meaning developers became rich at our expense.

Now, the tax is operating against those hoping to purchase a home - the rate is so high that many landowners cannot afford to sell, meaning only a trickle of homes is coming onto the market.

The proposals outlined today should help remove at least one of the bottlenecks and help restore a functioning property market.

But a word of caution. We need sustainable communities, close to essential public services such as shops, transport and community facilities. The last thing we want is to repeat mistakes of the past and allow development anywhere, at any price.

Any measures to boost the sector should be carefully monitored, and targeted at areas where there is the greatest need.

These should be temporary, over the short to medium-term, to help fuel the recovery and allow people find a place to call home.

Irish Independent

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