The Government is considering an increase to the vacant homes tax in Budget 2024 as part of measures to combat the housing crisis, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said.
Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns in recent months described the vacant homes tax of 0.3 per cent as “so low it is actually laughable”.
More than 12,000 homes and commercial properties are vacant across Dublin, with 40 per cent empty for more than four years – putting them at significant risk of dereliction, a new analysis of data by The Irish Times revealed on Saturday.
“Tackling vacancy is a real priority for us,” said Mr O’Brien. “The Irish Times report showed the vacancy rate is 1 per cent, which is well below the European average. Now, while it’s 12,000 homes, and there are commercial units that are empty, it’s a very, very small percentage.
“There will be a focus on additional tax measures. I’ve talked about a few carrots but there are a few sticks that can be used as well, which relate to tax. [Increasing the vacant homes tax] is something that we are looking at.”
Mr O’Brien also said he wants to see the renters’ credit increased in the budget, which will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
“I want it increased,” he said. “I’m not going to go into what level because we are in Government discussions at the moment but it is a real assistance to renters. Suffice to say, I want to ensure we are providing more assistance to renters out there.
“I want to ensure we’re helping first time buyers as well. I’d like to see the help-to-buy grant extended past the end of next year as well.”
Mr O’Brien was speaking before officially opening The Crossings at Adamstown, west Dublin, a new urban village created by mixed use property developer Quintain. It will form the central core of the Adamstown Strategic Development Zone.
Quintain is in the process of delivering 5,000 residential units in Adamstown. In total, it is investing €500 million in Adamstown and €200 million of this total figure has been invested in The Crossings.
The new village is a social, community and retail hub, providing a mix of shops, more than 900 apartments, a public plaza and an urban park serving a wider population of 30,000.
This park is spread out over 0.8 hectares (two acres) and incorporates a host of amenities including a 14-metre play train – the first of its kind in Ireland – together with soft play trails, biodiversity corridors, a large plaza space and outdoor seating.
The village centre also features a major retail facility of more than 9,000sq m (96,875sq ft), in which Tesco and Aldi already have outlets. McCabes Pharmacy, Kerrigans Craft Butchers and Grafton Barber are among others arriving soon.
Michael Hynes, co-managing director of Quintain Ireland, said: “The area is well served by transport links, community facilities and new schools but for it to be a real home for residents, we knew we needed to invest in recreational facilities and retail amenities.”