Dublin Will Charge Owners Who Keep Prime Land Idle
|January 7, 2014||Posted by Staff under Rent recovery or avoidance|
This 2014 of The Atlantic Cities, Jan 6, is by Feargus O’Sullivan.
Busy and often beautiful, the Irish capital’s center is nonetheless pockmarked with vacant and derelict lots.
Dublin property still costs around half what it did in 2007.
Ireland’s main fightback will come in the form of a new vacant lot levy charged to owners of both empty and derelict sites. Currently, owners of vacant sites pay no land taxes at all. Owners of so-called derelict sites, or nuisance properties, pay 3 percent. This has led to situations where Irish property owners have demolished buildings to avoid paying property taxes.
Some sites on Dublin Council’s list are owned by the national government’s Office of Public Works, which will itself be pressured into either exploiting its portfolio or selling it on.
Irish speculators were land banking for over a decade. Back when property values were rising inexorably (due to a housing bubble which overstated demand) it was possible to clean up by just buying a site, leaving it in a state least likely to incur taxes, and then selling it on much later. While this made profits for some, few activities could be more symbolic of the false steps taken during Ireland’s Celtic Tiger years than the plowing of boom era cash into land that developers never even intended to use for economic activities.
Ed. Notes: The city is moving in the right direction but it would not be necessary to single out vacant lots if the City taxed land in general or required Land Dues. Then owners would keep all sites at best use always. And if a prime site got to spendy for an owner, the City could turn it into a park or plaza, compensating the owner for any building on it. Keep all locations at best use with a mix of non-use would keep site values at their peak. To make sure the tax or dues are always affordable, the City could return some of the recovered rents as a divided to residents. Permanent prosperity and permanent peak use — both guaranteed.