Govt urged to help first-time buyers29/09/2008 - 18:44:25
The Government should help first-time buyers to purchase the estimated 40,000 houses lying unsold in the country, it was claimed today.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) also called for projects in the National Development Plan to be ring-fenced and for the commercial property sector to be boosted.
CIF officials led by director general Tom Parlon today met with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to offer pre-Budget proposals to return confidence to the housing market, a key factor in economic growth in the past decade.
CIF claimed the industry has contributed €50bn in tax revenue to the Exchequer since 2000. Despite shedding 30,000 jobs in recent months, it is still employing 250,000 people.
Mr Parlon said: “Whatever about construction being a problem, we are also a major part of the solution in terms of growing the economy and getting confidence back.”
CIF urged the Government to take an equity share in first-time buyers’ homes to boost affordability.
“Houses have become expensive, we have an international credit crunch and we have a major liquidity problem,” Mr Parlon told RTE.
“A stock of 35,000-40,000 houses are finished and unsold. They are worth about €1.25bn in Vat. If the sales happen, the Vat flows.”
CIF claimed house prices were down between 25-30% in real terms.
Mr Parlon called for all investment projects under the National Development Plan to go ahead as planned.
“Even if it means borrowing, it is still good investment. It may only be footpaths or traffic lights in towns and villages but it is still work for the industry,” he said.
Calling for the property sector to be re-stimulated, Mr Parlon said: “Last year, Irish people developed €12bn in commercial property but only two billion euro of that was in Ireland.
“There is a disincentive to invest here and it is mainly transaction taxes.”
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