Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1357, 1393, 1411, 1414)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

1357. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the local authorities that have been notified that they have reached their limit in loan approvals under the initial allocation of Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme funding; the instructions given to councils regarding pending and new applications; and when he will make an announcement on whether additional funding beyond the initial €200 million will be made available to the scheme. [12825/19]

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Seán Haughey

Question:

1393. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to ensure that Dublin City Council has sufficient funding to approve applications to the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in a timely manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13184/19]

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Mary Butler

Question:

1411. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when funding will recommence for local authorities for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme. [13533/19]

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Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

1414. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the review of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme will be completed; when funding for 2019 will be allocated; if he will allow flexibility for councils that have spent their budget to grant funding for applications that have already been approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13629/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1357, 1393, 1411 and 1414 together.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was launched in February 2018 to replace the existing local authority mortgage schemes, which were funded through loans that local authorities obtained from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) for that purpose.

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was initially being developed, 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 is approximately €106m, which is ahead of initial estimates for the scheme.

As a result, to date, a number of local authorities have issued loans to a level which has used up their approved allocations lending for mortgage and home improvement for 2018. Based on the latest information available, these are Fingal County Council, Kildare County Council, Meath County Council, Tipperary County Council, Waterford City & County Council, Wicklow County Council and Wexford County Council. Each local authority is aware of their allocations for housing loans for 2018, and monitors the use of this accordingly.

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.

In relation to the review of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan that I requested be undertaken by my Department in order to assist in the on-going administration of the scheme, it is at an advanced stage and is due to be finalised shortly. In carrying out the review, the Department has consulted with a number of local authorities, the Housing Agency, and the Housing Finance Agency. The review will also have regard to the views raised by public representatives since the scheme's commencement. However, in making any recommendations in relation to the operation of the scheme, it will also take account of the need to ensure that lending issued under it is provided on a prudential basis, so as to protect the financial interests of the borrowers and the local authorities.