Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (65, 92, 129)

Pádraig O'Sullivan


65. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if further information will be provided regarding the new affordable purchase scheme as announced in budget 2021; if a timeline is in place for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37830/20]

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Aindrias Moynihan


92. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the options under consideration for affordable housing for middle income families who cannot secure sufficient mortgages to buy their own home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38325/20]

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Paul McAuliffe


129. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans for a national affordable housing scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38481/20]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 65, 92 and 129 together.

In Budget 2021, €75 million was ring-fenced for the national 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.

It is envisaged that the homes delivered under this scheme, supported by Government investment, will be made available to applicants who meet defined eligibility criteria. The precise eligibility conditions are currently being developed in light of the engagement outlined.

In addition to this new scheme, 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, which was commenced in June 2018. The broad parameters of the local authority led Affordable Purchase Scheme will be as follows;

- aimed at first-time buyers who are low to middle households;

- homes purchased under the scheme will be subject to a maximum statutory discount of 40% (relative to the market price), with the final price of the affordable homes to be linked to the cost of provision, on a site by site basis, and

- the local authority maintains a fully 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.

Following engagement with the local authority sector, it is my intention over the coming weeks to bring forward a number of legislative amendments to Part 5 provisions in an Affordable Housing Bill and to put in place any necessary provisions to underpin the new national affordable purchase scheme.

The Land Development Agency (LDA) will also play an increasingly significant role in the delivery of more affordable housing. The LDA is currently developing 9 sites that have near-term delivery potential for 3,600 new homes, the majority of which will be for Cost Rental and affordable purchase.

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.

An enhanced Help to Buy scheme was announced as part of the €7 billion July stimulus package, which was extended to December 2021 as part of Budget 2021. This allows first-time buyers purchasing a newly-built home – or building one themselves – to claim back up to €30,000 paid in income tax and DIRT on bank deposit interest over the last four years. Full details of the Help to Buy initiative are available on the Revenue website.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a Government-backed mortgage which is for first-time-buyers nationwide to purchase a new or second-hand home or to self-build. This scheme offers loans on competitive terms to those who are unable to secure a commercial bank loan. Full details of the scheme are available on the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan website.