Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (72)

Bernard Durkan


72. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will consider promoting schemes of private serviced sites in all areas nationally on which first-time persons seeking homes for the first time could build their own homes to specific specifications as was the case in the past; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4601/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Local authorities already have powers to make low-cost sites available to individuals, who are qualified for social housing support, and collectively, to voluntary or co-operative not-for-profit housing associations.

Separately, I am providing funding of €25 million, over 2018 and 2019, for a targeted programme, where the local authority will make low-cost serviced sites available to approved housing bodies or co-operative housing associations in specific areas for affordable housing.

This approach has worked well in Ballymun between Dublin City Council and the O’Cualann Co-Operative. Through the Council providing fully serviced land at a nominal value, the price at which homes could be offered to eligible purchasers was significantly reduced. I would like to see this approach delivered on a greater scale in other areas, subject to an overall national set of criteria.  My Department is currently drawing up the criteria for access to the Exchequer-funded scheme, taking account of broader policy on affordable housing, and will be seeking submissions from local authorities in the coming weeks.

Last week, I also announced  the introduction of a new  Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan which will be available with effect from tomorrow, 1 February 2018. This will enable credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties within a suitable price range. 

Finally, first-time buyers can also avail of the Help-To-Buy Scheme, which is intended to  alleviate some of the challenges faced by first-time buyers in providing  the required 10% deposit of the market value of the property.