Local authorities already have powers to make low-cost sites available to individuals, who are qualified for social housing support, and collectively, to voluntary or co-operative not-for-profit housing associations.
Separately, I am providing funding of €25 million, over 2018 and 2019, for a targeted programme, where the local authority will make low-cost serviced sites available to approved housing bodies or co-operative housing associations in specific areas for affordable housing.
This approach has worked well in Ballymun between Dublin City Council and the O’Cualann Co-Operative. Through the Council providing fully serviced land at a nominal value, the price at which homes could be offered to eligible purchasers was significantly reduced. I would like to see this approach delivered on a greater scale in other areas, subject to an overall national set of criteria. My Department is currently drawing up the criteria for access to the Exchequer-funded scheme, taking account of broader policy on affordable housing, and will be seeking submissions from local authorities in the coming weeks.
Last week, I also announced the introduction of a new Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan which will be available with effect from tomorrow, 1 February 2018. This will enable credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties within a suitable price range.
Finally, first-time buyers can also avail of the Help-To-Buy Scheme, which is intended to alleviate some of the challenges faced by first-time buyers in providing the required 10% deposit of the market value of the property.