Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (211, 213, 218)

Robert Troy

Question:

211. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the status of the launch of an affordable housing scheme. [2470/21]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

213. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the details of the proposed affordable housing scheme including but not limited to criteria (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2492/21]

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Cormac Devlin

Question:

218. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the status of his plans to increase the provision of affordable housing; if he will consider increasing income thresholds for buyers in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2663/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 211, 213 and 218 together.

The Programme for Government, ‘Our Shared Future’, commits to putting affordability at the heart of the housing system and to:

- prioritise the increased supply affordable homes and to ensure that local authorities are central to delivering housing, and

- progress a state-backed affordable home purchase scheme to promote home ownership.

To begin delivering on these commitments, Budget 2021 ring-fenced €75 million for the introduction of an affordable housing shared equity scheme in 2021.

Broadly, the objectives of the Affordable Purchase Shared Equity scheme are to:

- improve access and affordability of new homes for First Time Buyers

- stimulate an increase in supply of homes by improving confidence as to the viability of future housing developments to meet increased realisable demand and

- support economic recovery from COVID-19 by encouraging employment in the construction and related sectors

In addition to this scheme which will support the delivery of homes on private lands, the Government will also finalise the development of a local authority led affordable purchase scheme. This will also see the first affordable homes delivered by local authorities under the scheme delivered in 2021.

In December 2020, the Government approved the priority drafting of the Affordable Housing Bill 2020 which will provide a legislative basis for both of these schemes. Once enacted, the Bill will deliver on key commitments in the Programme for Government. The detailed design of these schemes is currently ongoing and will be finalised following engagement with the range of key stakeholders.

It is intended that these schemes will be targeted 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. The equity support provided will help them secure their own home by bridging the gap between the mortgage available to them and the price of the home that is suitable to meet their needs.

It is my intention to launch both of these schemes by mid-year.