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Further doubt cast on vacant home tax as Revenue identifies 57,000 empty properties

Revenue’s figures are at odds with a recent CSO figure of 166,000 empty properties

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Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe. Picture: PA

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe. Picture: PA

Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe. Picture: PA

Further doubts have been cast on the vacant home tax as Revenue figures show just over 57,000 empty properties.

Local Property Tax Returns show that 57,206, or 3.2pc of properties, were indicated by their owners as being vacant on November 1, 2021.

This is in stark contrast to recently published preliminary CSO figures which showed 166,000 empty properties.

However, Government sources insisted that these figures include derelict homes, which are not subject to the Local Property Tax (LPT).

A fifth of the 57,206 properties recorded by Revenue, or over 11,000, are holiday homes, while the majority of homes - 42,522 – are not the primary residence of their owners.

The highest rates of vacancy were returned in Donegal, at 6.7pc, Kerry at 6.4pc, Leitrim at 6.3pc and Mayo at 6pc.

The most common reason given for vacancy was that the properties are holiday homes, with 40.6pc of the vacant homes in Donegal and 39.9pc in Kerry being holiday homes.

According to the newly published Revenue figures, just 2.6pc of properties in the Dublin City local authority area are vacant.

In Cork city, 2.6pc of properties were recorded as vacant, with 2.4pc in Galway city, 2.5pc in Limerick city and county, while the Fingal region in Dublin recorded just 1.7pc of vacant homes.

The most common reason (22.4pc) given for properties being empty was that they were being refurbished, and 20.4pc of vacant properties were recorded as being holiday homes.

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For homes which have been empty for longer than a year, a third of property owners said the property is being renovated.

Of the 57,206 properties reported as vacant by their owners, 3,450 are owned by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs).

Some 61pc of vacant properties were reported as being vacant for less than 12 months.

There are 553 property owners who own 10 or more properties with at least one property reported as vacant.

Of these, 108 owners own 10 or more vacant properties.

Some 77pc of vacant properties are worth less than €350,000.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said addressing vacancy and dereliction is a “primary objective” for Government.

“While both Revenue data and the preliminary Census 2022 data show that vacancy is within a normal range, it is important that the Government acts to ensure all viable housing stock is being used,” he said.

“This information provides the basis for ongoing work on the merits, impact and design of a tax on vacant residential properties. Further details on this measure will be made available as my officials work out the technicalities of administering a new tax.”

The Government has previously committed to putting in place a vacant home tax to reduce empty properties.

Minister Donohoe has previously said that Local Property Tax returns show a “low level” of vacancy and today’s new figures reveal this detail for the first time.

Independent.ie previously reported how officials within the Department of Finance are exploring whether electricity usage could be tracked to identify vacant properties.


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