Mick Wallace: How to stop the developers sitting on land

New Bill penalises land bank hoarders with steep fines to free the sites for housing

Hoarding should be made expensive  and result in sites being released for development, lowering land and house prices. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Hoarding should be made expensive and result in sites being released for development, lowering land and house prices. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

In 1997 I bought a fifth of an acre site in Dublin for £150,000. In 2004, I bought another fifth of an acre site, again in Dublin, but this time it cost €4.8 million. In seven years, the price of development land in our capital city had increased more than thirtyfold. But unfortunately, this increase in a short space of time was nothing new. Overvalued development land has been having a detrimental effect on how we supply housing in Ireland for over half a century.

In 1973, Justice John Kenny’s report on the price of building land was published. Commissioned in 1971, following a massive increase in the price of building land throughout the 1960s, the report’s main objective was to consider measures for controlling the price of land required for housing and other forms of development.

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