I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 and 259 together.
My Department does not collect data in relation to the numbers of open applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan (RIHL) that are currently with local authorities. Data is collected by my Department on a quarterly basis from local authorities with regard to the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Information up to Q3 2018, including in relation to number and value of mortgage drawdowns, is available on the Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-loan-activity, and this information is updated on a quarterly basis as additional data is compiled.
Regarding the timeframes in which applications are processed by local authorities, in October 2018 my Department requested initial data on the length of time taken for the processing of applications within each local authority area. This found that it takes an average time of circa seven weeks from submitting a completed application to a local authority to receiving approval under the scheme, which is in line with the expected timeframe of 6-8 weeks as set out on the RIHL website. Approvals are valid for six months to allow applicants time to source a property to purchase.
The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses loan applications that are made to the local authorities for the RIHL and makes recommendations to the authorities as to whether loans should be offered to applicants. The most recent data available from the Housing Agency with regards to its assessment process indicated that as of the end of December 2018, a total of 61 applications remained in process at that point. This is out of an overall total of 3,745 applications submitted to the Agency since the scheme commenced in February 2018.