Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Questions (243)

Christopher O'Sullivan

Question:

243. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered extending the help-to-buy scheme to include non-new builds in rural areas. [23477/20]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Help to Buy (HTB) incentive, is a scheme to assist first-time purchasers with the deposit they need to buy or build a new house or apartment. The incentive gives a refund of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) paid in Ireland over the previous four years, subject to limits outlined in the legislation.

The legislation governing the HTB scheme is set out in section 477C of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, as amended. In addition to requiring that the new property is occupied as the sole or main residence of a first time purchaser, the legislation also defines a ‘qualifying residence’ for the purposes of the scheme. The legislation is very specific as to the definition of a qualifying residence. It must be a new building which was not, at any time, used or suitable for use as a dwelling. Thus, for a property to qualify for HTB, it must be new or converted for use as a home not having been previously been used as a home. Renovation or refurbishment of old houses to either upgrade or reinstate them for habitation does not qualify for the HTB incentive.

An increase in the supply of new housing remains a priority aim of Government policy. The Help to Buy (HTB) scheme is specifically designed to encourage an increase in demand for affordable new build homes in order to encourage the construction of an additional supply of such properties. If HTB were also available for second-hand properties, it would limit the incentive effect on the provision of additional supply.

I have no plans to extend HTB to second-hand properties.