Proposed House Price Database 'Confusing'

There is confusion today as to how a new Irish database to monitor market trends and house prices is to be established.

Legislation announced yesterday hasn't fully outlined how data will be collected and published.

On one hand, Justice Dermot Ahern said responsibility for publishing property sales prices would be given to the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PRSA) but also said the Department of the Environment would create and maintain the database.

This will be details of residential and commercial property sales and would be maintained for statistical purposes.

However, it would then be the PRSA's job to publish the information.

As yet, it is not yet clear whether the information will be published on a daily, weekly or monthly basis as property sales prices are made public in an effort to bring transparency to the troubled housing market.

At present, house prices information is severely restricted under data protection legislation, which makes it an offence for an estate agent to reveal the sale price of a property without the consent of both the buyer and the seller.

Enacting legislation for the new body was not published until last year.

It passed through the Seanad in June and now Mr Ahern said he would table amendments to the Property Services (Regulation) Bill 2009 to finally establish the authority on a statutory basis during the next Dáil session.

"The Property Services Regulatory Authority will be in a position to ensure timely publication of this data as soon as the legislation is enacted later this year," he said.


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