Database to provide accurate snapshot of house prices
THE Government is to create a house-price database to give an accurate picture of the market.
However, the Department of the Environment said that concerns about data protection would have to be addressed first.
First mooted in the renewed Programme for Government last October, the register would provide an overview of the property market.
There had been concerns that estate agents were inflating the asking price of properties during the boom as buyers would not be able to get reliable information on what similar properties were fetching.
But property owners could raise concerns about personal data being made publicly available. One model being considered is to publish a list of prices per house type, which would set out prices paid in a particular area.
The department said it would begin discussions shortly with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Property Services Regulatory Authority and the Central Statistics Office, as well as consumer and industry representative organisations, to develop an index.
The comments came after the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) yesterday called for the register to be established after monthly house-price reports from the ESRI/Permanent TSB were cancelled due to low activity in the market.
"It has been obvious for some time that Ireland needs a register that captures, in real time, movements in house prices," CIF director general Tom Parlon said. "We have been relying on lagging indicators that tell us what has happened as opposed to what is happening. Given the centrality of the housing market in any domestic economy, a guide to house price movements as they happen is an absolute requirement."
Labour's housing spokesman Ciaran Lynch added: "I believe that the absence of reliable hard data on the price of property contributed to the bubble that we experienced up to 2008.
"For a market to function properly buyers need to have access to accurate information."