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NAMA wants property-sale register to reveal prices

A NATIONAL register giving details of the real value of homes and properties has been urged by NAMA as the first independent assessment of the flagging property market is about to be launched.

A new house price index complied by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) will provide the first independent assessment of the extent of the rise and fall in property prices.

But last night NAMA and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland called for a UK-style national register that would contain details of what houses and apartments were actually sold for.

In the past, buyers and sellers have had to rely on valuations from vested interests, such as banks, estate agents and property websites, who relied solely on asking prices.

However, the new monthly CSO index -- which will be unveiled next month -- will calculate the trend of property values based on details provided by mortgage lenders on a national basis. While the CSO will have details of actual house prices, the agency said it would not be publishing those figures, but would publish property price trends going back to 2005.

Experts last night said the new house price index would give the first independent barometer of property values.

But last night NAMA went further and said it fully supported greater transparency in the housing market and that a property register of prices for houses along the lines of the UK agency should be set up.

NAMA chairman Frank Daly has already said it was "high time" a register detailing all residential and commercial transactions was set up.

"For the first time we will have timely information about the current state of the housing market," said Michael Dowling of the Independent Mortgage Advisers Federation.

The announcement of the new index was also welcomed by IPAV, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers, which said it would give buyers and sellers a clearer picture of house prices.

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"It will give us a clearer idea of the prices being paid rather than the perceived prices," IPAV chief executive Fintan McNamara said.

Auctioneers Sherry Fitzgerald chief economist Marian Finnegan described the move as a welcome first step in providing accurate information. But she said legislation was needed to allow for the publication of detailed figures giving actual house prices.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland also welcomed the move but its director of policy and public affairs Peter Stafford called for the setting up of a prices register.

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