I propose to take Questions Nos. 58 and 70 together.
As with the previous local authority home loan offerings, loan applications under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan are made directly to the local authority in whose area the property proposed for purchase is situated. My Department does not directly collect information on the number of enquiries to local authorities regarding the loan or the number of loan applications received by local authorities.
However, as is currently the case, my Department will continue to publish information on the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Information up to Q3 2017 is available on the Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-loan-activity, and this information will be updated on a quarterly basis as additional data is compiled.
The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses valid loan applications that are made to the local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities as to whether loans should be offered to applicants. I have asked the Agency to centrally compile figures of the numbers of applications that it has assessed and the most recent figures, as at the end of May, indicate that the Agency had received a total of 1,499 applications for assessment from local authorities, 1,150 of which were deemed to be valid. Of these valid applications, 876 had been assessed and 52% of the valid applications that had been assessed by the Agency had been recommended for approval.
Each local authority must have in place a credit committee which makes the final decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations and having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.
With regard to the values of the loans approved to date, figures are not available concerning the breakdown of amounts approved in the manner referred to. However, the Housing Agency have advised that the average loan amount for the 458 applications recommended for approval by the end of May was €189,133.