A proposed Land Price Register Bill that would enable a “land hoarding tax at an effective level”, was advanced in the Dáil today (May 26), by Social Democrats housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

If passed, the Land Price Register Bill would see a publicly accessible, searchable, electronic register made available, which would allow people to access a host of information relating to a particular area of land.

The database would collate and provide information on land transactions including the date of the sale, the location, the size of the site, the zoning status of it, the price paid and the current ownership details.

Speaking ahead of a Dáil debate on the matter, O’Callaghan said issues around ownership, control and costs of land have been a problem for Ireland for generations.

“This is a substantial piece of legislation that would help create much needed transparency around land transactions.”

Passing of the Land Price Register Bill would help to address numerous issues according to O’Callaghan, including land hoarding, land price inflation and land speculation.

“If we want to tackle the cost of land, and implement effective policies to tackle land speculation, we need accurate data. A Land Price Register would provide that,” he outlined.

O’Callaghan said that government data shows there is 8,000ha of zoned land lying unused, enough to build 250,000 homes. He stated that under the proposed bill, sufficient data would be provided to facilitate the setting of an effective land hoarding tax.

In addition to this, the bill would also bring greater transparency to the cost of delivering housing. O’Callaghan explained that the cost of development land is one of the main reasons the Irish housing market has become so expensive.

“When it comes to construction, we have precise data on labour costs, building materials and professional fees.

“However, without knowing the price developers pay for land, we cannot independently assess the breakdown of construction costs and developers’ profit margins,” he concluded.