The Rebuilding Ireland home loan was launched in February 2018 to replace the existing local authority mortgage schemes. Waterford City and County Council received an allocation of €2 million under the scheme which allows first-time buyers to borrow up to 90% of a property's value from the local authority. Figures show that Waterford City and County Council has provided mortgages to half of all of the applicants that have applied, which tallies with average approval rates nationally. So far, so good and the Minister of State may well ask me what is the problem. Waterford City and County Council has paid out €2.6 million to date, approving 15 mortgages. It currently has another €1.5 million worth of successful applicants, equating to 11 mortgages but it does not have the finances to fund these mortgages under the Rebuilding Ireland scheme as it has already exceeded its allocation. I spoke to the director of services yesterday who told me that the council is currently reviewing these applications and that some of the applicants are in dire straits.
I wish to refer to one specific case to illustrate the reality of the situation. A family living in Waterford who had been renting for the past nine years successfully applied for a Rebuilding Ireland home loan from Waterford council. The family then engaged a solicitor, agreed the purchase of a house, including furniture and contents, gave notice on the house they were renting and sold some of their own furniture which would not suit their new home. However, when the solicitor applied to draw down the funding, as approved, the council could not provide the money as it had well exceeded its allocation. As I said, the council was allocated €2 million but has already spent €2.6 million. As reported in a local newspaper, all of the necessary reports were supplied and almost three weeks ago, the family reached the sale agreed stage. They had a pre-mortgage meeting with Waterford council, engaged a solicitor and were told that they would receive the money within two to three weeks. Now they have been told that Waterford council has run out of Rebuilding Ireland home loan funding. This is only one story among many. This family is currently in limbo. The whole chain of events is now held up, with several parties affected.
It is clear that there has been a much greater demand for the loan scheme than initially anticipated. As a result, the scheme will require a further tranche of funds to be borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency if it is to continue. I ask the Minister of State to provide some positive news on the question of additional funding for Waterford City and County Council. Will a second tranche of finance be provided and if so, when? Is the future of this scheme secure? Can applicants continue to apply, sure in the knowledge that, if successful, they will receive the necessary finance? This scheme is a good news story. There are lots of people in this country who are not in a position to get a mortgage from the normal lenders but who are also above the income limits to qualify for social housing or HAP. I know a few people who have secured Rebuilding Ireland home loans and they are very pleased with terms and conditions, including competitive rates of interest over 25 to 30 years. The scheme is a perfect fit on paper for some, particularly first-time buyers, those who cannot get a mortgage from the main lenders and those who do not qualify for local authority housing. I ask the Minister of State to clarify the situation with regard to the scheme.