Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (56)

Richard Boyd Barrett


56. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the details of the upcoming affordable housing scheme; the cost of affordable to buy homes; the eligibility criteria for the homes; the scheme of allocations for cost rental homes; the system for deciding the rents on the homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38401/20]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 56 and 58 together.

The Programme for Government makes clear our commitments to provide measures for good-quality housing to purchase or rent at an affordable price. In providing Capital of €468 million towards programmes that will support affordability, Budget 2021 backed up our intentions to deliver on these commitments.

From this sum, €110 million was ring-fenced for two new national schemes to designed to deliver more affordable housing the Affordable Purchase Shared Equity Scheme and the Cost Rental Equity Loan facility to help deliver Cost Rental homes. Both of these programmes will begin in 2021.

€75 million will be allocated to the affordable purchase shared equity scheme. I intend to target the scheme at first time buyers, who are seeking to buy a new home but who cannot quite secure the full mortgage amount to do so at the present time. Subject to the final qualifying criteria, the scheme would see the State take a limited equity stake in a property, in order to help more people meet the cost of buying a new home with their available mortgage.

To this end, significant preparatory work has already been carried out by my Department working primarily with the Housing Agency and the Department of Finance. Intensive engagement continues with key stakeholders informing the final detailed parameters of the scheme, as well as with home builders to seek to increase the output of new homes in response to the new scheme.

In addition, €35m has been allocated to the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) facility to support Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to deliver approximately 350 Cost Rental homes at scale from next year. This scheme will leverage the proven expertise and capacity of the AHBs, demonstrated in their development and management of social housing units. It will allow cost-covering rents to be set a lower level and so making them more affordable for tenants. Further details on the scheme will be announced in due course.

In addition to these new schemes, I will also progress and accelerate the local authority led scheme to deliver more affordable homes for purchase and rent on public land. The statutory basis for the delivery of affordable new housing for purchase on local authority lands is Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. The broad parameters of this scheme will be as follows: aimed at first-time buyers who are low to middle households; homes will be subject to a maximum statutory discount of 40% (relative to the market price), and the local authority maintains a repayable equity share in the properties equivalent to the percentage discount given

Furthermore, €310m is available to local authorities for Serviced Sites infrastructure funding that will support the delivery of up to 6,200 new homes that will be made available under this scheme. The first SSF project that will be deliver affordable homes will be Boherboy Road in Cork City in early next year.

The precise eligibility conditions are currently being developed in light of the on-going policy analysis outlined. I intend to bring forward any necessary provisions to underpin these schemes in a forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill which will be brought to Government in the coming weeks.

Other measures, such as the Help to Buy Scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, are also available to eligible purchasers nationally to make home ownership more affordable.