CIF calls for house price register to ‘prevent damage to economy’

CONSTRUCTION chiefs said house prices are now down 50% and have called for a register of house prices.

Following the switching of the ESRI/Permanent TSB house price index from monthly to quarterly the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said the economy could be damaged unless a register is established.

CIF director general Tom Parlon said until the housing information deficit is addressed Ireland’s economic recovery could be delayed.

“In the US and throughout Europe, governments have targeted housing market recovery as a means of stabilising domestic confidence and demand. In Ireland, the first thing we have to get right is the information about what is happening,” he said.

The CIF has asked Housing Minister Michael Finneran to bring together the relevant parties to deal with this as a matter of urgency. “It has been obvious for some time that Ireland needs a register that captures, in real time, movements in house prices. Hitherto, we have been relying on lagging indicators that tells us what has happened as opposed to what is happening.

“Given the centrality of the housing market in any domestic economy, a guide to house prices movements as they happen, as is available in the Northern Ireland, UK and US economies, is an absolute requirement,” he said.

Information from building firms indicate that house prices are now down by nearly 50%.

“Internationally house building is an important driver, and indeed perception driver, of domestic activity and it is vital that when people comment on what is happening they do so on the basis of reliable statistics,” Mr Parlon added.

Labour party spokesman on housing Ciaran Lynch said he was told that the Government would “amend the Data Protection Act to allow the publication of the sale price of property and create and maintain a house price database in the Department of the Environment, where details of residential and commercial property sales will be maintained for statistical purposes”.

“Unfortunately, that particular promise seems to have seems to have completely dropped off the radar screen,” he said.

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