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empty nesters Tax incentives to be used to encourage elderly to put homes on market for young families

The Government is considering cuts to stamp duty and capital gains tax for people seeking to downsize

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Tax incentives rather than grants are to be used to encourage empty nesters to put their homes on the market for younger families.

The Government is considering cuts to stamp duty and capital gains tax for people seeking to downsize.

The Housing For All plan will detail how tax cuts may be used to incentivise older people to sell their homes.

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien is expected to flag the measures in the plan and details of the new policy will be revealed in October's Budget.

The move is aimed at encouraging older people to move into smaller 'right-size' houses when their children move out of the family home.

Now a Government source has confirmed that it "could be capital gains tax or stamp duty, or a combination of both, but it will be a tax measure - it won't be a grant".

There will be a significant emphasis on messaging around the new policy to ensure older people do not feel like they are being forced out of their homes.

The Government will insist it is providing incentives to those who wish to move into a smaller house.

Junior Minister for Older People Mary Butler and Junior Local Government Minister Peter Burke recently launched a scheme to facilitate local authorities to provide dedicated staff to offer advice to older people considering downsizing.

The initiative will see nine local authorities take part in a pilot programme where 4,500 people will be assisted to right-size their home.

Age-friendly housing technical advisers will offer older people advice on dealing with solicitors and estate agents.

Ms Butler said she encourages older people to "explore all their options".

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"If they feel their house isn't the right size for them then there are options out there. They should discuss it with their family first. I would advise them not to make a rash decision," she said.

Ms Butler urged people to contact local authorities if they need help finding a suitable new home.

"But the main point is older people are looking for options if they own their home and if they are considering selling it or if they are living in local authority housing.

"We have a huge amount of work to do on this because we have the right options available for the people if we are going to do this," she added.

Ms Butler also suggested new developments could be required to include housing for people seeking to right-size into smaller homes.

"I would like to see housing estates when they are being built include a mix of right-size house for older people so they can remain embedded in their community," she said.

However, it is unlikely such a proposal will be included in the Housing for All plan when it is published in the coming weeks.

In June, Ms Butler and Mr Burke launched AgeFriendlyHomes.ie, a housing support website for older people. The Housing Agency, Age Friendly Ireland and the Departments of Health and Housing, Local Government and Heritage are involved in the initiative.

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