Karl sat down with Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit to discuss their housing policy, it was the first in a series of podcasts on housing where we offered to discuss housing policy in a non-confrontational way with parties that may not normally have policies we would focus on. The offer went out to the Greens, Labour, Sinn Fein and PBP as well as the SocDems.
We were pleased about being asked to contribute to the Late Debate on RTE radio 1, the show had a panel with many housing experts on it but during the middle of the show presenter Sarah McInerney took a few minutes to discuss the idea that the ‘answer’ is social housing with Karl Deeter from this company.
Wealth taxes are very popular in general, but not in particular because it usually means that asset ownership gives rise to taxation. One example of this would be property tax.
If ‘wealth’ is going to be taxed it has to be defined, the classical example is to use the accounting equation in which ‘assets minus liabilities equals capital’. The issue after that is where debt is involved because if you owned a home worth €300,000 and had debts on it of €200,000 then your ‘wealth’ is €100,000.
People could potentially try to game the system, it’s not as simple as getting indebted, if you had €300,000 in cash and then bought a property and remortgaged it to the hilt you’d still have to have €300,000 cash somewhere, so the issue becomes one of reporting and valuation.
This puts a weight upon the individual to make declarations and returns which people don’t like doing so a simplified process would be a good thing, where a person can provider a simple number of ‘assets minus liabilities equals wealth’ and file it online.
We were asked to take part in an interview on Primetime about house prices and whether or not they were starting to show signs of falling. Our view is that they will fall in time (probably in a damaging way) but that it won’t be soon because supply is still above demand and price indicators like rents are still rising. This is damaging for first time buyers and those stuck paying high rents.
The Today Show with Sean O’Rourke had us on to discuss an article written by Charlie Weston in the Indpendent about the strong level of cash buyers in the Irish property market. Marie Sherlock from Siptu the trade union was also on, what followed was a robust conversation where there was some interesting debate but also a lot of agreement on the problems, symptoms and solutions to the ills of the Irish property market.
We have been working for quite some time on creating an online mortgage process. The first time we did this was about 12 years ago but that was too far ahead of its time and the banks basically laughed at us. That has changed and now in 2019 we hope to make the proposition of an online mortgage process a reality, we’ll make it possible for people to do most of the process over their phone in an easy to use mobile environment. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know when this choice becomes available!
We were pleased to see our points about property tax on the Tonight Show on VMT given time to get worked through. The full show is available online at Virgin Media.
The Tonight Show, Monday to Thursday at 11pm on Virgin Media One. pic.twitter.com/Cl2cYxpxXW
— The Tonight Show (@TonightVMTV) January 15, 2019
People often discuss economic incentives in terms of ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’, it’s an adage that refers to getting a donkey to work, you use a carrot to entice it forward or a stick to give a more coercive physical encouragement.
When it comes to property tax the rules in Ireland are damn near shambolic. Our property tax rates are some of the lowest in Europe, for that reason under-occupancy reigns supreme and nobody has to pay the price for it other than those who are on the outside looking to get in (ie: mostly renters).
We have a tendency to under use property, this isn’t just well to do older people living in big houses on their own, it happens in low-income homes too, to an extent that you just don’t see in almost any other well run European country, in fact, elsewhere almost the opposite is true. (see the table below).
In fact, when it comes to people in the lowest quintile of income, we are exceptional because many of them own their own homes outright, this is …
In this discussion the way that council houses are used was discussed, the piece is very topical because there are serious overcrowding issues in many council houses where you have five or more people crammed into a one bed home while other people in council owned houses occupy four bed houses on their own. Our view is that this is a national emergency and for that reason the people in these situations should swop with one another.
(click into the blog post for the video) We were really happy about taking part in panel on the Late Late show on RTE to discuss the rented sector and some of the issues being experienced in it at the moment.