Vacant buildings around the country are being left to slowly decay during a time when the need for housing is at an unprecedented level. The prospect of a tax on vacant homes, in a bid to motivate owners to either sell them or restore them to an inhabitable state was not brought in during the last budget.

Vacant property tax previously backed by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to help tackle the housing crisis was not taken on board with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe as he stated that a tax on vacant homes will not ‘change the game’ in solving the shortage of housing.

A Zoned Land Tax did however come in to replace the Vacant Site Levy, which applies to sites zoned for residential use, not built properties. The latest figures show that there were 1,402 registered derelict sites at the end of 2019, but this is at the low end of the scale.

Last month, the Government unveiled its Housing for All plan to spend a record €4billion annually on building more than 33,000 new homes a year by the end of the decade in an effort to tackle the housing crisis.

Meanwhile, the number of homeless people across the country rose for a third month in a row in August, with the Department of Housing recording 8,212 adults and children without a home. It comes as the average price of a house was revealed to be €287,704, almost €24,000 higher than a year ago, in the latest quarterly sales report by Daft.ie.  

One way to tackle the soaring house prices is to rejuvenate these vacant properties and sell them on. The problem with new builds nowadays, they are just too expensive and rules out a lot of prospective homebuyers.

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