Ireland hikes stamp duty, amends planning laws to end bulk buying of homes

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland will impose a stamp duty charge of 10% on the multiple purchase of 10 or more residential houses and ringfence up to 50% of housing developments for owner-occupiers in a bid to discourage bulk purchases by institutional investors.

There was a public outcry last week after an investment firm bought most of the homes for sale in a development outside Dublin, pushing a years-long scarcity of affordable housing and sky-high rents back to the top of the political agenda.

Apartments are fully exempt from the higher stamp duty so as not to undermine the viability of large scale projects, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said. Multiple purchases by local authorities or approved housing bodies will also be exempt.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)