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A house divided

• A few weeks ago, Minister of State Brian Hayes gave an interview in which he highlighted the importance of a stable and functioning property market when he said: "All our futures are based on getting the property market going again."

I can only assume that his boss in the Department of Finance, Minister Michael Noonan, disagrees, based on his determination to end the mortgage interest relief for first-time home buyers at the end of this year.

There has doubtless been an increase in the number of house purchases as the year draws to a close.

And while some in the Government may point to this as some sort of stabilisation of the property market, nothing could be further from the truth.

Once the mortgage interest relief scheme ends, it is likely that the market will slow down once again.

A substantial proportion of recent property transactions have been cash purchases, which will undoubtedly dry up. Allied to this, those potential buyers who failed to get mortgages in time to benefit from the scheme will likely pull back from any potential purchases.

I find it highly unlikely that someone would make the biggest purchase of their lives weeks after missing out on the "deal of a lifetime", as Mr Hayes described it.

One wonders if he will still be adamant about our futures being based around the property market.

Simon O'Connor
Crumlin, Dublin 12

Irish Independent