The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was launched on 1 February 2018 to replace the existing House Purchase and Home Choice Loan schemes, providing a new line of mortgage finance, including fixed rates over 25 to 30 years, to creditworthy first-time buyers who cannot access sufficient mortgage finance from commercial lenders. Local authorities were issued with allocations for mortgage and home improvement loans in 2018 and the amount allocated to Kerry County Council was €3.075m. According to the latest information provided by Kerry County Council for 2018 and to the end of March 2019 it has issued €1.33m
When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was launched in February 2018, it was estimated that provision of €200m to local authorities, in loans from the Housing Finance Agency, would be sufficient to fund it for three years. The scheme has been more successful than anticipated, and by the end of January, €106m had been issued by local authorities in loans, accounting for 53% of the available funding, at a point at which €66m would have been more consistent with the expectation of a three year draw down period. By the end of March, loans issued by local authorities had reached €127m.
My Department has been closely monitoring the operation of the scheme since its commencement and has been engaging with the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform since October 2018 when higher lending and drawdown volumes were beginning to materialise.
I have been in discussions with the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform and there have been ongoing discussions between the three Departments, which included consultation with the Central Bank as recently as last Friday, 5th April. When these discussions have concluded, I will be in a position to confirm the level of allocation for 2019. In the meantime, I have agreed with the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure that the scheme remains open and all local authorities have been advised to continue to receive and process applications up to and including the issuing of loans.