Second Bacon report on housing due out this week

 

The Government is expected this week to support recommendations on the housing market contained in a new report from the consultant Dr Peter Bacon.

The report, a follow-up to the initial Bacon report published last April, is likely to suggest policy measures to increase the supply of housing coming on to the market, as well as calling for some tax changes.

"Bacon 2" will probably be published this week, along with a response from Government to the recommended measures.

Last week the Government adopted new guidelines on housing density in suburban areas, one of the recommendations of the first report, and has already moved to increase the supply of zoned land.

The report is expected to call for an acceleration in policy moves designed to increase the housing supply, as well as pointing to specific opportunities for housing provision in certain areas.

It is also likely to focus on improved co-ordination in the planning and development process and to examine measures to encourage development outside Dublin, in line with the Government's regionalisation approach.

The main focus of debate surrounding the first report centred on the Government's decision to accept its main tax recommendations, which included the imposition of stamp duty on new houses being bought by investors, as well as the ending of tax relief for investors buying houses.

The second report will review the impact of these measures and is expected to argue that they have succeeded in slowing the rate of price increase.

Unpublished Department of Environment housing figures for 1998 show a sharp reduction in the rate of price increases in the final quarter of last year.

The annual rate of increase in Dublin is believed to be the lowest since the third quarter of 1997, indicating that Dublin prices rose very little if at all in the final quarter of last year.

The latest report is expected to recommend further tax measures, although the precise details are not known.