Just 10 days after the PropertyPriceRegister.ie website went live, it is already the 444th most viewed website in Ireland and the betting on here is that it will be in the Top 20 by the end of this month when hopefully we will see further updates to the data. That should equate to several million views per month, and you don’t need to be a genius to appreciate that this sort of web traffic has commercial potential with advertisers and sponsors. And given that the Register is operated by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PRSA) which is a state agency, you might think that there would be some consideration given to generating such revenue to help defray the cost – to US – of running the register.
Given the wonderful oxygen of transparency generated by the existing register of 53,000 residential property transactions dating from January 2010, and given the debate over how much property has fallen from peak – in the past week, we have had two papers from the Central Bank on the length of property crashes and current declines from peak – you might think that the PRSA would examine extending its database to pre-2010 transactions, particularly those during the boom 2005-2007, but no, it seems you’ve had your lot, at least as far as the current administration is concerned. Given the very basic data that is available from 2010 and the fact that the Revenue Commissioners’ system has already offered up the 2010-onwards data, you might have thought that getting at the previous years’ data was a matter of pressing a few buttons.
Yesterday, in the Oireachtas, the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter about the PSRA defraying its costs using perhaps advertising or sponsorship, and about the prospects for extending the database.
The full parliamentary question and response is here.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of extending the property price register to sales in calendar years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009..
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the consideration that has been given by him or by the Property Services Regulation Authority to commercialising the property price register..
Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter: Section 86 of the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 provides that the Property Services Regulatory Authority shall prepare and maintain a register of residential property prices in the State. The purpose of the Residential Property Prices Register is to provide up to date sale prices of residential properties sold in Ireland. The production of sale prices for properties sold in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, which represent the “boom” years for house prices, would serve no useful purpose in this regard. Accordingly, I am advised that the Authority has no proposals to include such prices from those years in the Register.
The Residential Property Price Register cannot be commercialised by the Authority as it is required under the provisions of Section 86 of the 2011 Act to make the information contained in the Register available free of charge.