UK v Ireland empty homes

The Times

UK 840,000 empty homes including holiday homes

UK population 60,776,238

One empty home for every 72 people in the UK.

Ireland 266,682 empty homes including holiday homes.*

Ireland population 4,109,086

One empty home for every 15 people in Ireland.

3,994,000, that’s the number of empty homes the British would have, if they had the same empty home rate per capita that we have here in Ireland. Yet they have a ‘scandal’ and a ‘crisis’ at an empty home rate 21% of that here. By scaling up we have a ‘scandal’ and a ‘crisis’ five times greater than that in the UK. More like a fiasco but worse. :confused:

***The census found there are 1,769,613 homes in the State, and that of those, 174,935 were vacant houses, 41,598 were vacant flats or apartments and 49,789 were holiday homes. The number of vacant homes amounts to 15 per cent of the total. **
Irish Times August 2007

Look on the brightside Duplex you miserable git, we’re kicking the UK’s arse at something! (Relative to population)

Wonderfull post! And the Governor CB still thinks that there is going to be a soft landing for property. Is their anybody “their own man” left in the country?
Na na na na na we have more empty houses than you do. 8)

Who’ll take the rap?

Hurley is reduced to mouthing vacuous economic gobbledygook because that’s all that remains to be said. :cry:

Maybe the CFI will start running ads in Eastern Europe to advertise the wonders of living in Ireland?

The “empties” has been a pre-pin fav of myself and many other posters whence it first came to light.

Whats even more startling is there is no real indicator that I can see thus far, that the hundreds of thousands of empty properties will ever be needed or be useful today, tomorrow, next week, next years, in a couple of years, 20 years or possibly in any of our life times.

On the contrary, they were very useful: Useful as makework to give a misleading economic picture that ireland was doing well, useful as a means of getting money into the country (even though it’s temporary, and far more will leave by the time it is paid back), useful to make a lot of people feel rich and useful to make brainfree bertie seem like the ‘most successful politican in irish history’ (or whatever that rubbish was) a.k.a. useful to get the idiot re-elected yet again.

In terms of actual economic use - who needs that? We’re not the richest country in the world for nuthin you know.

This is why if all our politicians weren’t total invertibrates we would have shit-canned stamp duty & introduced a valuation based Property Tax like the US.

I one action we would deflate the bubble, correct the issue of the lack of any decent record of property ownership.

Begs the quesiton as to the usefulness of politicians in the first place.

Valuation based property tax is rough on older people with small incomes and appreciating houses.

An appreciating house is an income - why should it be a tax free one?

Do you get your tax back if the house depreciates again? Just curious.

Because it’s your home. How do you realise that income without making yourself homeless?

No, 'cause it’s a tax on the value, not on the appreciation. You would however pay less the following year.

And who would you trust to value your home fairly? (And not by the appearance of it?).

It’s not an income until you sell it

Tax on value just means low income people can’t live in a nice area. It should only be taxed whenever any gain is realized. If you want tax on value then it’s better to heavily tax vacant property in residential and commercial zones, since a) someone owns who plainly doesn’t need it, and b) empty property places a burden on society, and is just locking up economic resources.

Anyway, what gets me about the whole property price rise is that they are all the time saying that costs should be lower to encourage business, but then maintain a situation where one of the most basic costs around explodes.

The job of government should be to create an environment to lower the cost and improve the quality of all economic activities. This is what economic growth is surely? I don’t see why property should be an exception to this.

Which they can’t anyway (since they can’t buy there) - except during the period immediately after it becomes a nice area.

That’s a minimum, but of course that’s not true for most gains realized by property sales in ireland, due to the PPR exception.

All property places a burden on society (several different burdens in fact) - the only difference is that someone with an empty place is placing the burdens on society additional times.

Ah what a wonderful though common fallacy you’re falling for there.

The ‘costs’ of property in total on society are completely different from the ‘costs’ as individuals percieve them.

What you have at the moment is a situation where a property is not just the ‘possession’ of the asset, but is more importantly a ‘voucher’ which can be used to demand that wider society subsidises many of the costs which give that asset value.

To compensate for the fact that existing property owners aren’t paying the full costs, others have to make up the difference - the obvious example being buyers of new property, who typically have to borrow in the order of 100K+ extra to pay the governments slice of their house. This, combined with the recent quantities of construction is what enables the government to subsidies the costs of providing services existing property owners (even though they’ve started charging trivial amounts for some services, such as bin charges and future water charges).

The shifting of the burden from existing owners to new buyers is also clearly visible in the new ‘development levies’ of 10-15K collected by the local authorities from the buyers of new houses - even though the existing houses typically benefit just as much from use of this money as the new one does. Of course, this suits existing owners perfectly, since not only do they get the benefits of the money, but the levy increases the value of their house (more accurately, it increases the value of the implied voucher which comes with the house).

The issue of providing, at the minimum cost, the various services which make property worth owning is a completely seperate issue - which you refer to above as ‘the job of the government’.

The point of taxing possession and/or gains from property is matching up the taxation with those who benefit from the expeniture - there’s no doubt that the owner of a house is benefitting from government expenditure (whether occupier or not), so it’s only fair that they pay for the privilege. Either way, someone will.

Ironically, you’re arguing against making property less of an exception - current ‘property taxes’ are front loaded tax payments on the first purchase and subsequent transfers of ownership, which subsidises all people already ‘in the club’ (who aren’t buying or moving that year), while the alternatives, like an annual property tax hit all ‘members of the club’, which at least matches their ‘consumption’ of the provided services (and making the annual tax valuation based means that different levels of benefit are taxed differently).

Well, they can buy before it becomes nice and contribute to the community. Or just be lucky that it matures well. Anyway, your tax is an impediment to them living there → I can’t agree with it.

I agree. (not the bit about falling for the fallacy though :slight_smile:)


I think that:

  • The Irish government has not been historically good at providing high quality services, so what they do should be kept to a minimum.
  • Nevertheless, many services must be provided by the government, local or otherwise due to their infrastructural or some other nature that makes them suited to being public services.
  • these public services should be paid for by taxes on the populace.
  • The incumbent government has ridden the debt bubble to extract as much as possible from home buyers under the illusion of “growth”. They have not taxed responsibly, and sought only to maintain revenue streams.
  • the government is using property taxes to pay for many things, but really the taxes should be more closely linked to the actual thing they are paying for.

This is the point at which you introduce “property value tax”, and how the government who has inflated property values would love you for advocating it. I would introduce a local service tax, possibly partially linked to both income and usage above a certain baseline (to allow for our welfare state).

Well, as I wrote above, it is the job of the government, at least in certain cases. I’m not sure if the quotes mean you disagree or not, but for me, some things do not lend themselves well to the free market.

But I didn’t actually write that in my original post. What I wrote was: “The job of government should be to create an environment to lower the cost and improve the quality of all economic activities.”

By encouraging a property bubble and mismanaging the entry of land into the residential/commercial zoning, and mismanaging the density of what is built on that land, they have let:

  • land prices spiral out of control
  • construction costs spiral out of control
  • finished property costs spiral out of control
  • rental costs spiral out of control
  • wage demands spiral out of control
  • business costs spiral out of control
  • consumer costs spiral out of control
  • urban sprawl spiral out of control
  • traffic jams and commute times spiral out of control
  • inflation spiral out of control
  • private debt spiral out of control
  • etc. I’m sure you know other examples

So I repeat, “The job of government should be to create an environment to lower the cost and improve the quality of all economic activities.”

The cost of a place to live and a place to do business is one of the most fundamental costs in an economy in my opinion (as a non economist). I can’t see how having it anything other than as low as possible is anything but bad for the rest of the economy.

I think annual property tax is only justifiable on physical dimensions of the property, and taking into account it’s usage or not. Not some perceived market value. And only because not using the property or using it inefficiently is directly affecting the rest of society.

Seperate service tax is perfectly acceptable.

Consumption of services is not property value. Tax services. Tax realized gains.