Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (286)

Seán Sherlock


286. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance if a policy change will be considered to the help to buy scheme whereby if a couple is purchasing a home in which one of the couple is a first time buyer that some relief would be given to assist them to purchase a home. [38848/20]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Section 477C of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 requires that applicants for the Help to Buy Scheme (HTB) must be first-time buyers. This includes circumstances where there is more than one person involved in the purchase or building of a new home.

The definition of first time buyer in Help to Buy is as follows:

'first-time purchaser' means an individual who, at the time of a claim under subsection (3) has not, either individually or jointly with any other person, previously purchased or previously built, directly or indirectly, on his or her own behalf a dwelling.

The intention is to target the Help to Buy scheme on those who have not had the opportunity to build up equity in another property which could be used to purchase the second or subsequent property.

The definition complements that in the Central Bank's macro-prudential rules. It should be noted that the Bank is independent in the formulation of this policy.

I do not propose amending the definition of first time buyer along the lines suggested by the Deputy.