Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Questions (853, 854)

Richard Bruton

Question:

913 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the way the new equity loans under consideration will differ from the shared ownership scheme. [22980/08]

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

My Department commissioned a report to identify measures that would assist in responding to the targets set for affordable housing in Towards 2016. The report "Increasing Affordable Housing Supply" was prepared by consultants for the Affordable Homes Partnership as part of their role in providing services to the Minister and local authorities in relation to affordable housing.

One of the main recommendations made in the report is the replacement of the current Shared Ownership Scheme with a scheme based on a new equity loan product. The rationale for this, including a comparison of the schemes, is set out in the report which was published on 25 April 2008 and is available on my Department's website at www.environ.ie.

The approach suggested in the report would allow up to 30% of the purchase price of a house to be funded through an equity loan, with the balance obtained through private mortgage finance. The equity loan would be placed as a second charge on the property and would not be repayable until after 35 years or on the sale of the house. The householder would have registered title to the property. This differs from the Shared Ownership Scheme where rent is paid on the un-purchased share of the house which is effectively leased from the local authority.

A consultation on the various aspects of the report, including the equity-based loan, was launched at the end of April. In addition to the public consultation, my Department is consulting with the social partners, housing practitioners and financial institutions. I will be considering the outcome of this process in the context of the further development of policy on paths to home ownership, including through affordable housing.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

914 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on the situation regarding the acquisition of Part V units at a location (details supplied) in County Kildare; his further views on whether it is acceptable that an agreement reached in January 2007 to purchase houses has not been concluded; if he will fund the purchase of these units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22988/08]

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I refer to the reply to Question No. 640 of 17 April 2008. The Valuer's Report on this project was received by my Department on 16 June 2008 and is currently being considered.