The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was launched last year to replace the existing House Purchase and Home Choice Loan schemes. The scheme enables credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range, where they cannot obtain sufficient mortgage finance from a commercial lender.
The regulations under which the Scheme is established and the statutory credit policy, issued in accordance with the Regulations, provide that the loan is available to first-time buyers only. The regulations define a first-time buyer as having the same meaning as a first-time buyer in Section 92B of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999, which defines a first-time buyer as a person who has not individually or jointly with another person previously purchased a house or an apartment.
The regulations also provide for prohibited categories of borrowers. The statutory credit policy sets out in detail the criteria for determining the eligibility for a loan under the scheme. It specifically excludes those with a poor credit history. This is to ensure the continued viability of the scheme and to protect the interests of borrowers and the local authorities who provide the loans.
I have no plans to change the regulations or the credit policy with regard to either targeting first time buyers or the prohibition of certain categories of people. This is to ensure the effective targeting of limited resources and the continued financial stability of the scheme.