Ministerial housing role needed to tackle ‘crisis’

Auctioneers and valuers group seeks full ministerial position with responsibility for housing market

Pat Davitt: “things have slowed”

Pat Davitt: “things have slowed”

 

The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers has called on the Government to create a full ministerial position with responsibility for the housing market, ahead of what it has described as a “looming crisis” in the property sector.

The association’s chief executive, Pat Davitt, said the property market faced a series of challenges that need addressing immediately.

“It requires a lot more attention and, given the tax they take in from housing and construction, the Government should be looking to take it more seriously.

“There is a crisis looming. Things have slowed since September. There are not as many buyers out there and more people are turning to renting but the properties just aren’t there for them. Around the country houses are still being sold below cost, and builders won’t build any more until they know it’s worth their while.”

“We feel that more and more people will have to turn to renting if the 20 per cent deposit rule is enforced by the Central Bank and that will only put rents higher and makes fewer properties available. It’s a real chicken and egg situation at the minute,” he said.

Responsibility for housing falls under the aegis of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and is a junior ministerial role currently held by Paudie Coffey.

Speaking ahead of a two-day series of meetings with the European Confederation of Real Estate Agents in Dublin, Davitt also hit out at the Government for trying to find a one-size fits all solution, pointing out that the market was at different stages of recovery nationwide. “The Dublin market is not the market in Ireland. We would like to see a property council set up with all the relevant stakeholders involved to help get the market back on track and avoid the ups and downs we’ve had in recent years.

“What is clear to us is that a blanket solution is not possible if there’s not a blanket market but the Government don’t seem to realise that,” he said.

Davitt also called for the proposed Central Bank loan-to-value cap of 20 per cent to be relaxed.

“This shouldn’t happen,” he said. “It is already having a negative effect on the market and if it comes in then it will have a very negative effect because not every couple would have that sort of deposit.

“We would support a 10 per cent cap but at the moment it appears to us that there is no clear strategy – and that needs to change,” he said.