I am advised by Revenue that it has recently published a report setting out analysis of residential property vacancies as reflected in the Local Property Tax (LPT) returns for 2022. This report is available at www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/statistics/lpt/lpt-vacant-properties-report.pdf.
I am advised by Revenue that the data in this report are not directly comparable to that reported by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in its Census findings, due to the differing bases for the data and the differing methodologies used to collect it. These differences are analysed in some detail in the report at pages 10 and 11 and I would refer the Deputy to this for more detail on this matter.
In summary, the Revenue data are derived from declarations made by taxpayers on the LPT returns, whereas the CSO data reflect the observations of Census enumerators. Revenue data is also limited to properties where a liable person was required to make an LPT return. Properties that were uninhabitable or unsuitable for use as a dwelling as at 1 November 2021 are not liable for LPT for 2022. Owners of these properties were not required to value their property for LPT purposes and they were not required to submit an LPT return. Therefore, information from the returns will not include properties that are not liable for LPT in 2022, such as derelict or otherwise uninhabitable properties.
Revenue data reflects property owners’ self-assessment of the status of their properties in the context of the 4-year LPT valuation period. Property owners may not have considered properties to be vacant for the purposes of the LPT declaration where they were temporarily unoccupied for reasons such as short-term renovation, hospitalisation, travel, overseas assignments, or properties between lettings.
The CSO uses different methodologies and definitions of vacancy when conducting the Census. It is also worth noting that the CSO data reflects a specific point in time, i.e. Census Night on 3 April 2022 and includes properties that were vacant for a short period of time that may well have been occupied again a few weeks after Census night. It should be noted that this is a point in time measure of vacancy relating to the weeks either side of Census Night. The Census measure is not intended to be a measure of long term vacancy or that these properties are available for re-use.
Each model is valid for its primary purpose, and it is not unexpected that the figures from the Census and the LPT returns would differ.
Further information on the CSO measure of vacancy is available at www.cso.ie/en/census/census2022/census2022andvacantdwellingsfaq/.