The new affordable purchase housing scheme is targeted at providing support towards low to middle income first time buyers. Prioritising geographical areas for operation of the scheme is informed by economic assessments which local authorities have completed in relation to the affordability issues in their areas. Significant housing delivery is to be supported using the Serviced Site Fund (SSF) which will utilise a budget of €310 million to provide site infrastructure support to help make available approximately 6,200 affordable homes over the next three years. An initial 10 projects have been approved for €43m of funding under the first call for proposals under the SSF. It is intended that a second call will issue next month and the first homes are expected to be delivered next year.
Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides the statutory basis for the delivery of the affordable housing scheme. Whilst the purpose of the scheme is to primarily target support at first time buyers facing housing affordability challenges, Section 84 (4) of the Act 2009 allows for an exemption that a person must be a first time buyer. It provides that those who are separated, divorced or whose marriage has been annulled would be able to make an application for an affordable purchase home, subject to certain conditions. These include that the person concerned has not retained an interest in their previous family home, or that they are not beneficially entitled to an interest in a dwelling other than their previous family home.