A vacant property tax looks set to feature in the Government’s new Housing for All plan with a vacant sites tax also under consideration.

Owners of vacant homes now have to declare their unused houses to the Revenue Commissioners and explain why they are empty and this information will be needed first. There is increasing unhappiness in Government with the existing vacant sites levy which has been in place since 2019 and is collected by local authorities.

Talks are still under way between government departments on a plan which would see couples or individuals given a grant to renovate vacant properties in towns around the country.

Discussions are also under way to introduce an incentive for people who want to downsize to a smaller home which would see a halving of the stamp duty charge from 1 per cent to 0.5 per cent. The incentive is designed to make it more attractive for people living in family homes to trade down after their children have left, particularly to apartments, via a halving in the stamp duty bill on the purchase of the smaller property.

Other new measures will include a plan code-named “Project Tosaigh”. This will see the Land Development Agency play a role in activating thousands of dormant planning permissions which have not yet been activated on lands which may be privately owned. They could take a partnership role in a project or they could take them over and develop them out.

This could deliver thousands of houses in larger urban areas if the plan is successful.

The multibillion plan will aim to deliver 33,000 houses a year by 2025. The exact split between public and private, and social and affordable will be announced by the Government either next week or the week after.