Thursday, 4 March 2004

Questions (28, 29, 30)

Batt O'Keeffe

Question:

23 Mr. B. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the plans he has to increase the local authority loan of €130,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6543/04]

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Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

138 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when he expects to raise the maximum amount of loan available under the shared ownership loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7374/04]

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Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

149 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason the maximum shared ownership loan is at €130,000 when it is clearly impossible for a purchaser to obtain a house at that price; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7397/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 23, 138 and 149 together.

It is a matter for each local authority to administer house purchase loans in their area, having regard, as appropriate, to the housing needs and circumstances of their area. In determining the maximum mortgage loan in each case, local authorities should have regard to the purchaser's ability to repay by reference to their net household income.

My Department is keeping the terms of the loan limit under review, taking into account the movement in house prices, the effectiveness of various schemes in meeting the needs of the relevant target group and the availability of mortgage finance in the private sector. Work is continuing with representatives of the Irish Mortgage Council and the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority on the provision of finance by the lending institutions for affordable housing and other initiatives.