Cheaper homes if levies scrapped, says CIF
Scrapping development levies could reduce the cost of a new home by as much as €7,000.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) says levies charged by local authorities to fund essential infrastructure, including roads and water, should be scrapped as they are a form of double taxation.
In a pre-budget submission, the builders lobby group says that the cost of levies are added to the cost of a new home, but that homeowners must also pay property tax. This is based on the value of their home, which is largely dictated by the level of services available so homeowners are effectively paying on the double.
Director of Housing, Planning and Development at the CIF, Hubert Fitzpatrick, said the cost of a home could drop by €7,000 if levies were abolished.
"At the time levies were introduced, there was no such thing as property tax. We feel that the standard levy could be a form of double taxation," he said. "Builders cannot build houses without purchasers. We want to ensure the cost of the building is reduced."
The CIF also wants the Living City Initiative, where owners are given tax breaks to upgrade and develop older properties in the main cities, to be extended nationally.
It said that rural towns and villages have seen "little improvement" in activity as the economic recovery has taken hold, and that many town centres are neglected.
"There is little to no incentive for private investment to secure renewal of the heart of these town centre areas," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
"There are many areas where towns are run down but services are in place. Some form of initiative should be available."
The CIF also wants the VAT rate on new house builds to be reduced, and says the home renovation scheme should be extended to allow people claim tax breaks to upgrade their homes.