Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (192)

Bríd Smith

Question:

192. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Finance his plans to expand the help-to-buy scheme to include help with the purchase of second-hand homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6499/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Help to Buy incentive (HTB) 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 the State over the previous four years, subject to limits outlined in the legislation. The incentive is scheduled to operate until the end of 2021.

HTB is designed to stimulate the supply of new houses in the housing market and to assist first time buyers in accumulating a deposit for a new home. In order to further help meet these goals, I announced an enhancement to the existing scheme with effect from 23 July last for the remainder of 2020 as part of the July Stimulus Package. The legislation to give effect to this is set out in the Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No.2) Act 2020. The Finance Act 2020 further extended the period of application of the enhanced levels of support until 31 December 2021.

An increase in the supply of new housing remains a priority aim of Government policy. The 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. A move to include second-hand properties within the scope of the relief would not improve the effectiveness of the relief; on the contrary it could serve to dilute the incentive effect of the measure in terms of encouraging additional supply.

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