New database will reveal real sale price of properties
HOUSE hunters will be able to find out the real prices of properties nationally for the first time on a government database -- so they will no longer have to rely on information from 'cowboy' auctioneers and estate agents.
Although the property market is still in a slump, the Government has recognised the need to provide such a database, with easily accessible and accurate information, including selling prices.
The move has been welcomed by the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute (IAVI), which said it would help to tackle the "cowboys" and "fly-by-night" auctioneers and estate agents who had misled buyers about prices.
Estate agents and other business groups also welcomed the announcement, saying the planned database would bring much-needed and overdue clarity to the property market.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said the database would be set up by the National Property Services Regulatory Authority, once the necessary legislation has been passed later this year.
"I am very aware of the need for reliable and up-to-date data on house prices and other property," he said.
It is likely that the database will be compiled from information supplied to the Land Registry, which already receives the selling price and address of every property sold in the country.
The National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPRSA) will be given the power to access the necessary data.
However, the NPRSA was unable last night to say when it would be able to get the database up and running.
A spokesman said it would have to wait and see what was required to be included in the database by the forthcoming legislation.
IAVI president Kersten Mehl said:"It will ensure transparency about what is going on in the housing market. This should have been done 30 years ago."
He added that it would tackle the "cowboys" who had given professional auctioneers a bad name by giving inaccurate house prices.
Joan Henry, head of research at the real estate company Savills, welcomed the creation of the database, commenting: "The more complete and the more transparent the data, the better."
The CEO of Douglas Newman Good, Keith Lowe, also welcomed the announcement as being "good for the industry and good for the buyer".
He said the price index would "bring some realism to all the different price indices which are currently reporting different trends".
Niall O'Grady, head of business strategy at Permanent TSB, which produces a regular price index of its own, said the announcement was "great news" as Ireland was one of the few countries which did not already have such a register.
REMAX Ireland said the legislation was long overdue. Waterford-based auctioneer John Fogarty said: "Up to now, vendors had false expectations as they were basing everything on guide prices. On the other hand, purchasers were assuming that any asking price should be 20pc less."
The proposed register was also welcomed by Chambers Ireland and the Society of Chartered Surveyors, which insisted that the register must include all commercial property.