Housing crisis: Stamp duty hike may deter investors bulk-buying homes

The Taoiseach has told Ministers that housing should be on a par with Brexit or Covid
Housing crisis: Stamp duty hike may deter investors bulk-buying homes

The Government is considering a stamp duty hike to deter investors from bulk-buying homes.

The Irish Times reports that it is also considering blocking local authorities from agreeing long-term leases with institutional investors.

The Taoiseach has told Ministers that housing should be on a par with Brexit or Covid, as the Coalition remains under pressure over institutional investment in housing for a second week.

Government sources said no final decisions had been made on how to address the issue.

If a stamp duty intervention applying to multiple unit sales was pursued, sources said it would have to be carefully designed as not to impact buyers such as approved housing bodies and local authorities.

There are also concerns the wrong balance could drive off institutional investors, which the Coalition believes have a role in financing home building.

Heated exchanges

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is understood to be consulting the Attorney General on options when it comes to housing planning, including restricting the bulk purchase of homes in less dense areas.

The Minister has said he wants to ringfence a percentage of homes in new developments for first-time buyers.

In the Dáil on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin hit back at Sinn Féin criticism, accusing the party of objecting to many housing developments at the planning stage.

Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said the housing crisis had been “created by Fianna Fáil, and deepened by Fine Gael”.

During heated exchanges on a Sinn Féin private members motion on the issue, finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said “now the Government have been caught out, they’re scrambling to give some appearance of action”.

Mr O’Brien hit out at Sinn Féin as “a party of slash and burn, not build and renew”, and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe argued there was a role for the investors in the Irish market.

Timeframe

Despite pressure, a Government spokesman said on Tuesday night it was “hard to put a timeframe” on action.

He said the Government was addressing the issue with “absolute urgency” but “can’t say what that means” in relation to identifying and implementing new rules.

Sources indicated on Tuesday night it could be the middle of next week before proposals were brought forward.

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