Friday 23 February 2018

Ask the experts: What steps would you urge the Government to take in 2018 to help solve the housing crisis?

Aine Myler
Aine Myler
Keith Lowe
Michael Grehan, managing director, Sherry FitzGerald

Áine Myler

Aine Myler.jpg
Aine Myler

Our report on the cost of delivering new three-bed semis in Dublin last year found that soft costs such as VAT, levies and financing made up 55pc of the total. Our report on the cost of new apartments found that soft costs made up 41pc while land costs comprised 16pc. It's clear the extra costs for young home buyers due to taxes are substantial. That is why we believe a reduction of VAT on new affordable properties in areas of high demand from 13.5pc to zero for a limited time is needed. Second, funding should be made available for accurate data collection for new housing. While it's estimated that 15,000 houses were built last year, question marks remain over this figure - based on electricity connections - with a recent report arguing that the true level could be just half this. How can you hit a target if you can't measure it properly?

Áine Myler is the director general of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI). She holds a master’s degree in planning and development economics, and has worked in estate agency for 26 years and in later years as a consultant.

Keith Lowe

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Keith Lowe

I would build social housing as quickly as possible, and not just in Dublin. The Irish Government needs to follow the lead of the UK and introduce a shared-equity scheme loan, which is the UK's version of the Help to Buy scheme. The government takes a stake in each purchase while receiving rent on the portion they retain. In the UK, the government stake is up to 40pc in London and 20pc in the rest of England for homes priced up to £600,000. The first-time buyer puts up a 5pc deposit, the government puts up 20pc or 40pc, and the buyer takes out a 75pc or 55pc mortgage for the balance from a high-street bank. When the property is sold, the government gets their stake back plus a percentage of the upside.

Keith Lowe is CEO of Douglas Newman Good (DNG), a national estate agency network which has 75 branches throughout the country, including franchises. He has 33 years’ experience in the sector, having joined the firm in 1984.

Michael Grehan

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Michael Grehan, managing director, Sherry FitzGerald

Short-term measures, such as a reduction in VAT on new homes would allow an immediate positive uplift in development in all locations. Investors are continuing to leave the market, as they feel residential property is not a viable investment vehicle. The Government needs to reassess tax implications for private investors to encourage a greater proportion to remain in the market as landlords.

Michael Grehan is MD of the Sherry FitzGerald estate agency group, which has a 66-branch-strong network, including franchises. He has more than 28 years’ experience in the property sector.

Irish Independent

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