The Cabinet has agreed that bulk purchases of ten houses or more will be subject to 10% stamp duty.

The measure will be voted on in the Dáil tomorrow and there will be exemptions for local authorities and approved housing bodies.

Speaking at a press conference this evening, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said this is intended to "provide a very significant disincentive" to the practice of multiple purchase of large parts of housing estates before they reach the market.

He said it will apply to all houses in the State, regardless of their location. The measure does not apply to apartments, which Mr Donohoe said was an "important exemption".

"This is a measure that focuses on the purchase of houses, and we are doing this because of a recognition that apartment developers in particular do face significant viability challenges at time", he said.

"There is a role for some sort of purchase there to allow the apartments to be built."

Mr Donohoe said it was "precisely because" the Government wanted to ensure supply of homes in city centres that they decided to exempt apartments from the bulk-buying measures.

"The view of Darragh and myself is that any additional charges or any limitations in relation to the potential to bulk purchase of apartments will undermine the ability of those homes and those apartments to be built," he said.

Guidelines will also be issued to local authorities that will urge them to consider the need for houses and duplexes to be set aside for individual non-commercial purchasers.

These guidelines will take effect from tomorrow.

The Affordable Housing Bill will also be amended to allow local authorities grant planning on the basis that a percentage of units are reserved for owner occupiers.

Minister Donohoe said the Government "absolutely accepts" that the role of very large purchasers in buying completed homes is a matter of public concern, and has affected the ability of first time buyers to purchase their own home.

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The Minister for Housing, Darragh O'Brien, said that from tomorrow, he will be issuing a circular under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act that will "fundamentally ban bulk sales for houses and duplexes for all new applications received after 19 May".

Mr Donohoe said that once passed by the Dail the change would be effective from Thursday 20 May.

He said that the financial resolution would deal with the situation of firms being set up to avoid the measures being introduced.

"We will give the Revenue authority the power that they need to ensure that any efforts to go around it are dealt with," Mr Donohoe said.

Mr O'Brien said that the issue of supply was key to everything they did and that all the measures that they take are there to build supply, particularly to build home ownership.

"We have focused this particularly at family homes and duplexes," Mr O'Brien said, adding that the Government "recognise a need for investment in apartments."

He also said the new measures would not apply in cases where a contract has already been signed.

Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin has told the Dáil that the details of the Government's housing plan are an "absolute cop out".

People will see it for what it is "very quickly", he added and predicted "mobilisations on the streets like we have not seen for decades" once the Covid-19 pandemic has passed.

Speaking in the Dáil earlier today, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said it is Government policy to attract investment funds with "cushy" deals that sees them pay virtually no tax.

She said it is absolutely bogus of the Taoiseach to claim the Government did not know about investors snapping up homes because the State has boosted these funds with taxpayers' money.

Ms McDonald said Stamp Duty has to be increased substantially, and added that any proposals before Government must also include apartments.

In response, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government's fundamental aim is to provide 50,000 social homes over the next five years.

He said Sinn Féin sees no room at all for private builders and this is a flaw.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the Cabinet's attempt to limit cuckoo fund involvement in the housing market is "completely inadequate".

He contended that such investment funds must be "completely excluded from the housing sector".

In addition, he argued that they cannot be allowed any access to the public land bank, which is currently included in the government's legislative plans.

Social Democrats Housing spokesperson Cian O'Callaghan said the Government is adopting the wrong strategy when it comes to tackling investment funds.

He said that the reducing rents, rather than hiking stamp duty, would have a greater impact.

Deputy O'Callaghan said the stamp suits would need to be raised to a level of 15%, if not 20%, to have a real impact.

However, he said if the funds decide to hold onto the housing long term, then the stamp duty will have no impact.

Additional reporting David Murphy