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'Faster' way to buy and sell homes introduced: 5 things to know in property this week

Plus nearly 300 vacant sites are now subject to a levy.

EACH AND EVERY week, we put together a round-up of the week’s biggest property news stories around Ireland.

Stay on the real estate pulse with our five-minute digest, featuring the vital news from the week just gone.

This week, a vacant sites levy has come into effect – and the legal process of buying or selling a house is set to become more streamlined.

1. ‘Faster’ system for buying and selling property now in place

shutterstock_34958038 Source: Shutterstock/Igorsky

A new system which changes the legal practice and procedures when it comes to buying and selling property has come into effect as of Tuesday. The Law Society of Ireland has said the more “streamlined and efficient” process will introduce a new conveyancing system that requires title investigation before contracts are signed.

This will ensure any questions about the property’s title are raised and resolved before the contracts are signed.  Expanding this system to all property transactions takes advantage of evolving technology for document sharing and paves the way for more secure property sales contracts.

2. The government is paying €88m to rent private properties… despite owning almost 100 empty buildings

shutterstock_120978487 Source: Shutterstock/Icatnews

The government has been criticised for spending almost €88 million a year on rental properties, despite owning a number of vacant properties. The figures were released to Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on Public Expenditure an Reform, Barry Cowen through a parliamentary question by Minister Paschal Donohoe. 

A total of 96 State-owned properties are currently unoccupied, although a number of these are being prepared for alternative uses.  It cost more than €580,000 a year to maintain these properties. A bulk of the €87.7 million paid to private landlords is spent in Dublin, where the figure stands at €68,227,241.

3. Vacant sites levy comes into effect for nearly 300 sites

shutterstock_125617433 Source: Shutterstock/stocksolutions

A total of 298 sites across 17 local authorities in Ireland will be subject to the vacant sites levy, effective from 1 January. It applies where planning authorities can designate a site liable under the levy where it has remained vacant and site owners/developers failed under certain conditions to bring forward reasonable proposals to develop or reuse the site. 

The rate that a property owner pays is based on its value. While initially set at 3% of the site’s value, some property will also be liable for a 7% rate annually. 

4. Irish Life ‘set to secure’ planning permission to develop Hume House

humehouse Source: Google Maps

Irish Life is set to receive planning permission to redevelop and expand its Hume House property, reports The Irish Times. The publication reports that permission for the expansion of the property appears to be close to being granted as Dublin City has sought further information about one aspect of the proposed build before releasing its final decision.

Located on Pembroke Road, Dublin 4, Irish Life paid €35m for the office block in 2016 and applied for planning permission to develop a new 236,000 sq ft office complex on the site last October. 

5. Construction of 341 homes to take place near British Ambassador’s south Dublin residence

Royal visit to Dublin - Day One Source: Rollingnews.ie/pool/ Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Developer Michael Cotter has now been granted planning permission to build 341 new homes on a site neighbouring the British Ambassador’s residence, Glencairn House, Leopardstown, reports the Irish Independent.

The final build will feature 243 apartments arranged across six blocks, 98 houses and a childcare facility, according to the publication. 

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