Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1390)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

1390. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the delivery of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme by Sligo County Council in 2018 and to date in 2019; if the funding under the programme will be affected by the fact other councils have run out of funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13172/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, which provides credit worthy first time house buyers who cannot access sufficient mortgage finance form a commercial lender, has been available from local authorities since 1 February 2018.

The Housing Agency provides a central support service, which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to approve or refuse applications. Each local authority must have in place a credit committee and it is a matter for the committee to make the decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

The Housing Agency compile figures on the number of applications they have assessed and subsequently recommended to approve on a county-by-county basis. The most recent figures for Sligo County Council, as at the end of February 2019, indicate that the Housing Agency had assessed 44 applications for Sligo County Council since the scheme began, with 22 of these recommended for approval.

As part of the Review of the operation of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, my Department obtained information from the local authorities on loans drawn down to the end of January. From this information, Sligo County Council confirmed to my Department that they had issued eight loans to end January 2019, totalling a value of €869,000.

In relation to the allocations of funding to individual local authorities under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan to individual local authorities, the final allocation assigned to Sligo County Council for mortgage and home improvement loans in 2018 was €3,375,000. This final allocation is reflective of an internal rebalancing exercise carried out by my Department in respect of the approved allocations notified to the local authorities based on estimated drawdowns for 2018 as notified by the authorities.

When the scheme was initially launched, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans under the scheme would be approximately €200 million over three years. The scheme has proven to be far more successful than originally anticipated, and the level of funding issued by local authorities to end January 2019 was approximately €106m, which is ahead of initial estimates for the scheme.

I am currently in discussions with the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform regarding further funding for the scheme. Specific allocations to local authorities for 2019 will be finalised when those discussions have concluded.

In the meantime, the scheme remains open and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.