The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme is operated by the local authorities. As is currently the case, my Department will continue to publish information on the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Information up to Q3 2017 is available on the Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-loan-activity, and this information will be updated on a quarterly basis as additional data is compiled.
The Housing Agency provides a central support service, for the local authorities, which assesses valid loan applications that are made to the local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities as to whether loans should be offered to applicants. I have asked the Agency to centrally compile figures of the numbers of applications that it has assessed and the most recent figures, as at the end of May, indicate that the Agency had received a total of 1,499 applications for assessment from local authorities, 1,150 of which were deemed to be valid. Of these valid applications, 876 had been assessed and 52% of the valid applications that had been assessed by the Agency had been recommended for approval.
Each local authority must have in place a credit committee which makes the final decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the Regulations, the statutory credit policy issued in accordance with the Regulations and having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.
The purpose of the scheme is to enable credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range, where they have been unable to obtain sufficient mortgage finance from a commercial lender. However, in accordance with the statutory credit policy, as with any other loan, potential borrowers must be credit-worthy and must demonstrate that they have the ability to repay the loan. It would be irresponsible to give individuals approval for loans that may see them placed under undue financial strain. The credit-worthiness checks that are part of the approvals process for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, and which may result in individuals being refused, help to safeguard against this eventuality and assist in protecting both the applicant and the Exchequer.