What will the new National Property Price Register mean to me?

February 2012

Question

I’m thinking of buying a house after the summer and just read about this new house price database. Does that mean I will be able to look up the prices of any house I like? Even one that I might think about buying?

Answer

The Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 provides for the establishment of a National Property Price Register. The property register will detail the actual selling prices of properties sold since January 2010 and, according to recent reports, the database will be available to the public in June of this year. This is a very welcome development and should provide the public with more transparency in relation to the actual selling prices of property which was restricted due to data protection legislation. It should also provide more accurate information in relation to trends in the property market than is currently available. The Act will also provide for the establishment of the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) on a statutory basis (see npsra.ie ) and it is my understanding that this body will oversee the administration of the House Price Register. It will also license and regulate property management agents (for the first time) as well as estate agents/auctioneers. This level of regulation is long overdue in the market and should provide the public with assurance that they are dealing with a qualified professional who is regulated on a statutory basis. In terms of whether you will be able to look up the prices of any house you like or are considering buying, our understanding is that you will only be able to get the details of sales from January 2010 onwards as the register will only go back to this date, so it will depend on when the property was sold. You should bear in mind however that, while the legislation was signed into law by the President before Christmas, commencement orders have yet to be signed by the Minister to make the PSRA fully operational on a statutory basis and this may affect the date of the publication of the Property Price Register and property selling prices.

Ed Carey is a chartered surveyor and chair of the Residential Property Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.