Thursday, 5 April 2007

Ceisteanna (26)

Liz McManus

Ceist:

21 Ms McManus asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of households who have been enabled to purchase a home, under the shared ownership scheme, for each years since 1997 to date in 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13262/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Information to end September 2006 on the number of transactions completed under the shared ownership scheme is published in my Department's Housing Statistics Bulletins, copies of which are available in the Oireachtas Library, and also on my Department's website at www.environ.ie.

Since 1997, 10,546 transactions have been completed under the shared ownership scheme. The following is the number of transactions annually from 1997 to 2006:

Year

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

No.

1,042

805

1,314

1,190

1,611

1,686

998

798

730

372*

*Provisional.

The income limit for the shared ownership and affordable housing schemes was increased with effect from 1 January 2006. Persons whose income in the previous tax year was €40,000 or under for a single income household or €100,000 or under for a two income household, using the formula of 2½ times the main income plus once the secondary income, are eligible for the schemes.

The maximum loan a local authority may advance in respect of the share of a dwelling being purchased (minimum 40%) under the Shared Ownership Scheme is €185,000. This maximum loan amount could facilitate the purchase of a home costing €462,500. Accordingly, certain local authorities impose a maximum house price limit for shared ownership transactions in their area where they deem it necessary.

The core objective of housing policy in Ireland is to enable every household to have available an affordable dwelling of good quality, suited to its needs, in a good environment and, as far as possible, at the tenure of its choice. While the take-up on the shared ownership scheme has declined in recent years, possibly due to the availability of affordable housing under other delivery mechanisms and the availability of cheaper finance in the market due to historically low interest rates, I am satisfied that the scheme, by assisting individuals seeking to acquire their own home, continues to play an important part in contributing towards the achievement of this objective.