After many years of petitioning and lobbying from Buyers Broker Ltd and all sectors of property industry, the Minister for Justice and Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter and the Irish government finally look likely to introduce an amendment to the Property Services Bill so as to establish a National House Price Register.
Both buyers and sellers have been calling for actual house and apartment sale prices to be published officially and it now looks like this could achieved before the end of this year. All indications are that this Register will include actual prices, property addresses and dates of sale.
Prior to the boom years and certainly throughout the tiger sprint, lack of data distorted the market. At the height of the market, this distortion was mainly positive for sellers but negative for buyers. For the last four years, the lack of real, reliable and accurate information has proved negative for both parties as it increased the fear and uncertainty.
The introduction of this Registered also means that property valuation system in Ireland will finally become a reliable indicator of real-time, actual residential values. The source of information for the new figures will be the Revenue Commissioners, which gets its information from conveyancing solicitors acting for purchasers.
The reason for the long delay in providing this seemingly basic information to the public is due to our nation’s Constitutional stance on privacy. The Commissioner for Data Protection contends that sale-price information should be released to the market but without giving the actual address each house sold or the actual price achieved (an Irish solution to an Irish problem!).
The best we have at the moment is the Central Statistics Office’s property price index, first published last May, which is insufficient for sellers and buyers as it merely measures the change in the average level of prices.
Buyers have been waiting a long time for this measure, it will be a blow to the market if the data protection issues are allowed to stand in the way of progress. What we are seeking is not revolutionary or even advanced, this basic information is available for the property market in most other countries. Hopefully common sense will prevail!