Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility

Ceisteanna (309, 325)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

309. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the income thresholds for social housing in counties Laois and Offaly will be increased to take account of the situation with wages and house prices. [51982/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

325. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if income qualification thresholds for local authority houses are likely to be increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52165/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 309 and 325 together.

Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended.

The 2011 Regulations prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy. The 2011 Regulations do not provide local authorities with any discretion to exceed the limits that apply to their administrative areas.

Under the Household Means Policy, which applies in all local authorities, net income for social housing assessment is defined as gross household income less income tax, and the universal social charge. The Policy provides for a range of income disregards, and local authorities also have discretion to decide to disregard income that is temporary, short-term or once off in nature.

The income bands are expressed in terms of a maximum net income threshold for a single-person household, with an allowance of 5% for each additional adult household member, subject to a maximum allowance under this category of 10%; and 2.5% for each child, subject to a maximum allowance under this category of 10%.

The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household's basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local rental cost of housing accommodation across the country. It is important to note that the limits introduced at that time also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 introduced prior to the new system coming into operation, in order to broaden the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, both promoting sustainable communities and also providing a degree of future-proofing.

Given the cost to the State of providing social housing, it is considered prudent and fair to direct resources to those most in need of social housing support. The current income eligibility requirements generally achieve this, providing for a fair and equitable system of identifying those households facing the greatest challenge in meeting their accommodation needs from their own resources.

However, as part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is underway. The review will also have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (310)

John Curran

Ceist:

310. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications for the home loan scheme received by South Dublin County Council; the number of applications approved; the number declined ; the number of applications that successfully drew down a loan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52010/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to approve or refuse applications. Housing Agency recommendations are then considered by the Credit Committee in each local authority, which issues loan approvals.

Each local authority must have in place a Credit Committee and it is a matter for the Committee to make the final decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, and having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

I have asked the Agency to compile figures on the numbers of applications that it has assessed and recommended to approve/decline for South Dublin County Council since the scheme began. In 2018, the Housing Agency assessed 214 valid applications. Of these, it recommended 112 for approval and 102 for decline. For 2019, as of end-November 2019, the Housing Agency have assessed 166 valid applications of which 86 have been recommended for approval and 80 recommended for decline.

My Department publishes information on the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Local authority approval means that an official letter of offer has been sent to a borrower (and therefore relates to a specific property and loan amount). Information on the RIHL for Quarter 2 2019, including in relation to the number and value of mortgage approvals and drawdowns and also average loan amounts 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.

Homeless Persons Data

Ceisteanna (311)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

311. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homeless families and children in each county in December 2018 and each month to date in 2019. [52089/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department publishes a monthly report on homelessness. The monthly report is based on data provided by housing authorities and produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS). The most recently published report, in respect of October 2019, shows that there were a total of 10,514 individuals in emergency accommodation, including 6,688 adults, 1,733 families and 3,826 dependants. The monthly report includes data in relation to families and dependants at a regional level and are published on my Department's website at: https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/other/homelessness-data.

Supporting families experiencing homelessness is a priority for this Government. In 2016, the Government published the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness. Rebuilding Ireland is designed to significantly increase the supply of social housing by 50,000 homes in the period to 2021, double the output of overall housing to at least 25,000 homes per annum by 2020, support all tenure types (social, private and rental), and tackle homelessness comprehensively. Rebuilding Ireland is delivering significant results in supporting households to exit from homelessness to independent tenancies. In 2018, 5,135 adults and their associated dependants exited homelessness to independent tenancies, an 8.6% increase on 2017. In the first nine months of 2019, 4,389 adults and their associated dependants exited from homelessness to independent tenancies, a 17% increase on the corresponding period in 2018.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (312)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

312. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homes allocated by each local authority in the past 12 months, in tabular form; the number of refusals of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52091/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The allocation of social housing support is a matter for each individual local authority in accordance with the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, and associated regulations. Section 22 of the 2009 Act requires all local authorities, as a reserved function, to make an allocation scheme determining the order of priority to be accorded in the allocation of dwellings to households qualified for social housing support and to households approved for a transfer, the allocation of which would, in the opinion of the authority, meet the accommodation needs and requirements of the households.

My Department does not hold information on the allocations of the specific type or the number of refusals of same requested by the Deputy.

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Ceisteanna (313)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

313. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the implementation of ongoing communications strategy initiatives that highlight schemes and programmes operated under the auspices of his Department, including advertising and promotion on television, radio, newspapers and online, in tabular form; and the level of expenditure for each such initiative. [52121/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The details requested are set out in the table below:

Initiative

Expenditure

Medium

Vacant Homes Leaflet

€150

Online

Vacant Homes Campaign

€39,089

Print

Open recruitment competition

€1,529

Print

Register of Electors Awareness Campaign

€7,729

Print

Invitation for Electoral Commission Submissions

€11,997

Print

Public consultation on Modernisation of Electoral Register

€33,040

Print

Sponsorship of supplement on 100 Years of Voting for women

€27,390

Print

Electoral Register Modernisation

€17,632

Online

Electoral Register Modernisation

€40,927

Radio

Advertisements on Spending Period for the 2019 Local Elections

€4,462

Print

Local Elections – Period for reckoning electoral expenses

€11,090

Print

Electors with physical disability

€23,216

Print

Public Consultation on the Draft Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Water Quality

€3,632

Print

Short Term Letting Regulations

€400

Online

Short Term Letting Regulations

€25,859

Print

Met Éireann Podcast

€968

Online

Met Éireann Advertisement - National Ploughing Catalogue 2019

€431

Print

Fire Safety Week

€167,857

TV

Fire Safety Advertisement – National Ploughing Catalogue 2019

€1,476

Print

Fire Safety - Halloween

€42,424

Radio

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Ceisteanna (314)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

314. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the commissioning, development, production, promotion and online sharing of a video that highlighted schemes and programmes operated by his Department, in tabular form; if such videos have been commissioned for 2020, and if so, the estimated costs of each such video. [52138/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has incurred no expenditure to date this year on the commissioning, development, production, promotion or online sharing of videos highlighting schemes and programmes it operates.

My Department has produced a number of videos this year, including three published videos on the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, a scheme it operates. It did not incur expenditure as these videos were produced in-house and not advertised at any cost.

To limit public expenditure in the production of digital content, including videos, my Department normally develops and produces video in-house. It occasionally incurs expenditure on the advertising and promotion of videos to increase public awareness of policies, legislative changes and initiatives. An increasing amount of online content is in video format and my Department has developed its capacity in this area in order to communicate more effectively with the public, elected representatives, stakeholders, interested parties and media and others.

My Department has not currently commissioned any videos on schemes or programmes for 2020. It is possible that it may incur expenditure on the promotion of videos next year but decisions in that respect have not yet been made.

Homeless Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (315, 317)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

315. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to meet the housing needs of those in emergency housing accommodation or who are homeless in the course of the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52155/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

317. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of houses likely to become available to homeless families by county in the course of the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52157/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 315 and 317 together.

Supporting families experiencing homelessness is a priority for this Government. In 2016, the Government published the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, which contains a range of measures to support individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Under the legal and policy framework in place, local authorities are responsible for the provision of homeless services to households experiencing homelessness. Local authorities and their service delivery partners work with each household experiencing homelessness to identify and secure an appropriate home for that household. My Department has increased the budget available to local authorities to deliver homeless services by over 25% to €146m this year. Next year, this funding will increase by €20m to €166m. This increased funding will support increased numbers of households experiencing homelessness with the necessary supports to exit from homelessness to a home.

In the first nine months of 2018, a total of 4,389 adults and their associated dependants exited from homelessness to an independent tenancy. This is a 17% increase on the numbers recorded at the same point in 2018. The exits for this period include: 873 exits to local authority owned properties, or up 69% on the corresponding period in 2018; 691 exits to Approved Housing Body (AHB) lettings or Long Term Supported Accommodation, up 46% on the corresponding period in 2018; and 2,825 exits to private rented properties up 2% on the corresponding period in 2018.

In 2020, as we continue to increase housing output and, in particular increase the number of new social homes to 11,000, I expect to see increased exits from homelessness to all tenure types.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Question No. 317 answered with Question No. 315.

Ceisteanna (316)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

316. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the extent to which he expects to be in a position to meet the housing needs of those on local authority housing lists nationwide in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52156/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The 2019 Summary of Social Housing Assessments shows that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified and being in need of social housing support. This represents a decrease of 3,165 households or 4.4% on the last assessment in June 2018. Indeed, since the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan was launched in 2016, the numbers have decreased from 91,600 to 68,693, a reduction of 25%.

It should be noted that the SSHA is a point in time snapshot of the demand for social housing support in each local authority area and does not necessarily reflect the dynamic nature of entry to and exit from the housing waiting lists. Local authorities have provided over 90,000 social housing supports in the period of Rebuilding Ireland to date.

The undertaking of the SSHA assists in providing a more strategic picture of the dynamics of the numbers applying for social housing supports and emerging trends. The purpose of the SSHA is to capture the total number of households qualified for social housing support across the country whose social housing need is not being met, in order to better understand the level of need for such support. The data garnered through the Summary will allow my Department to target the delivery of social housing supports under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness to those most in need.

Qualified households on social housing waiting lists can have a wide variety of housing needs and it is therefore important that there is a blend of social housing delivery mechanisms available that can meet those diverse needs in the most effective manner. Under Rebuilding Ireland, the aim is to meet the housing needs of some 138,000 households over the 6 year period 2016 to 2021, and provision is made for this to be achieved through a mix of different mechanisms. These include build, acquisition and leasing schemes delivered by local authorities or in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).

Over the period of Rebuilding Ireland, 2016 to end Quarter 3 2019, over 90,000 additional households across the country had their housing needs met. In 2018, just over 27,100 households were supported, 6% ahead of the overall target for the year. We are targeting over 27,000 again this year and next.

In 2019 alone, 10,000 new social homes will be delivered utilising these methods, including 6,545 build homes delivered by Local Authorities nationwide, in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies. Looking to 2020 we expect to see 11,000 new social homes delivered showing the increased capacity now in the system to deliver homes for those who need them.

Earlier this year, I published the 2019 targets for social housing delivery broken down by local authority, and also broken into Build, Acquisition, Leasing, HAP and RAS. Each quarter, I publish progress against those targets, and this morning I published the Quarter 3 2019 outputs, showing 66% delivery to end September. This data is available on my Department’s website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordable/overall-social-housing-provision.

It is recognised that local authority building activity and the pace of such delivery must continue to increase. Against this background, additional resources, including technical resources, which during the inactive years had been lost to local authorities, continue to be replenished. Streamlined approval processes for capital projects have been put in place, including a revised single stage approval process. A range of supports have also been put in place including:

- Internal Layouts for Social Housing;

- Employers Requirements;

- Volumetric Frameworks;

- Rapid Framework

- Guidance Notes, including on Turnkey Delivery;

- Planning Reforms;

- Heights & Apartment Guidelines

- A newly restructured Housing Delivery Office is being advanced and work is ongoing between my Department and the LGMA in this regard.

The blend of delivery will vary across areas depending on local circumstances. However, my message to local authorities has been consistent and it is a message that every possible effort must be made to, at minimum, achieve our targets, if not exceed them. The range of delivery schemes, funding and resources are in place to support this. I will continue to engage proactively with local authorities to ensure that any impediments to progress are addressed.

Question No. 317 answered with Question No. 315.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (318)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

318. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the extent to which sites serviced or unserviced can be made available by county to assist families that may be able to provide their own houses on such sites if available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52158/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A number of options are available to local authorities in meeting social housing needs, and these include the provision of low cost sites to persons qualified for social housing support on which they would build their own homes. Another option which could be utilised by a local authority, where it considers it appropriate, is the transfer of a site from a person qualified for social housing to the local authority, and the building of a social house on the site by the local authority, to be tenanted by the person who transferred the site.

It is a matter for the local authorities to select and prioritise projects under the various programmes they implement, to meet their overall housing need.  They are responsible for the identification of the social housing need in their areas and for the development of appropriate responses to meet that need.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (319, 320, 321)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

319. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of Rebuilding Ireland home loans likely to become available to suitable applicants nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52159/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

320. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to adjust income limits for applicants for Rebuilding Ireland home loans in order to aggressively deal with the housing shortage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52160/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

321. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to increase dramatically the number and availability of Rebuilding Ireland home loans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52161/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 319 to 321, inclusive, together.

It continues to be the case under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, which was introduced on 1 February 2018, that single applicants applying for the loan must not be earning more than €50,000 gross per annum and the combined income of joint applicants must not be greater than €75,000 gross per annum. This is to ensure the effective targeting of limited resources. I have no plans to raise these income limits at present.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a demand led scheme and when it was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans would be approximately €200 million over three years. However, this loan product has proved to be more successful than initially anticipated. In the context of the scheme’s success my Department engaged with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Finance with regard to the allocation for 2019.

I engaged early as I said I would. While discussions commenced in October 2018 on additional funding, the first tranche of €200m was only fully drawn down in August of this year. My Department wrote to all 31 local authorities on 15 August 2019 sanctioning an additional €363.6 million in funding for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan. This brings total funding for the Loan to over €563.6 million for 2018 and 2019 combined.

The overall allocations incorporate loans already issued since the inception of the scheme, loans which will be drawn down on foot of approvals already issued and projected loan demand for the rest of 2019. There are no requests for additional funding in 2019.

Local Authority Housing Eligibility

Ceisteanna (322)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

322. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of families likely to qualify for local authority houses in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52162/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended. In order to qualify for social housing support and be placed on a housing list, an applicant must be assessed by the authority concerned as meeting all of the eligibility and need criteria set down in the legislation.

Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area are set out in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA).

The most recently conducted SSHA details the number of households on all local authority waiting lists as at 24 June 2019 (the count date). Since the count date, the Housing Agency has been examining the figures submitted by Local Authorities. The Agency recently submitted its report to me which provides information on the characteristics of the households on the list. The full report is available on my Department’s website.

The final numbers provided by the Housing Agency regarding the 2019 assessment show that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified and being in need of social housing support. This represents a decrease of 3,165 households or 4.4% on the last assessment in June 2018. Indeed, since the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan was launched in 2016, the numbers have decreased from 91,600 to 68,693, a reduction of 25%.

It is important to note that social housing is a demand led service and for that reason it is difficult to predict the degree to which housing lists will decrease or increase over the next 12 months. The number of units delivered by local authorities in a given time period does not necessarily equate to the ‘net need’ for social housing support reducing by an equivalent number. The nature of the list is dynamic. As new households are added to it, others are removed as their housing needs are met or where the households themselves indicate that they no longer require State support.

The undertaking of the SSHA assists in providing a more strategic picture of the dynamics of the numbers applying for social housing supports and emerging trends. The purpose of the SSHA is to capture the total number of households qualified for social housing support across the country whose social housing need is not being met, in order to better understand the level of need for such support. The data garnered through the Summary will allow my Department to target the delivery of social housing supports under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness to those most in need.

While it is difficult to predict social housing need, it is important that Housing Authorities are aware in general terms of the potential demand when they are preparing their Housing Strategies as part of their Development Plan process. To this end, National Policy Objective 37 of the National Planning Framework (NPF) requires that local authorities in the future will undertake a "Housing Need and Demand Assessment" (HNDA) for each local authority area. This will be important in estimating likely future housing need across tenures.

Work on the development of the HNDA process has commenced in my Department and an expert advisory group is preparing guidance for local authorities to assist them in conducting a HNDA. This new evidence-based approach will form the basis of a more accurate and consistent projection of demand for different tenures of housing. The HNDA methodology, which it is hoped will be available in early 2020, will comprise guidance and an assessment tool, that will inform local authority HNDA preparation.

Housing Policy

Ceisteanna (323)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

323. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the action he will take in terms of reform to address the issue of families having to spend more than half the family income to meet rent payments; if provision will be made by which families can compete with investors in the market place to provide themselves with a home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52163/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Our private rental market is experiencing ongoing upward pressures due to strong economic and demographic growth. Ultimately the most effective way to reduce and stabilise rents in the medium to long term is to increase supply and accelerate delivery of housing for the private and social rental sectors. At this point, affordability remains a significant issue in the rental market and the Government is tackling this in a number of different ways to help ensure that families can provide themselves with a home - whether that be in the rental market itself or via home purchase.

Acknowledging that renters in Dublin and other major urban centres are facing significant housing access and affordability challenges, the Government is committed to the introduction of a Cost Rental sector in Ireland. Cost Rental relates to housing where the rents charged cover the cost of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes only as opposed to private sector rentals where rents are set by the market, which may lead to high rents in high demand areas. The rent paid by a household in a Cost Rental tenancy will not be driven by market demand. A core objective of Cost Rental is to offer moderate income households the choice of a more affordable and stable form of rental tenure. Over the longer term, as homes are delivered at scale, it is envisaged that Cost Rental will have a stabilising effect on the broader private rental market. Together with delivering more affordable and predictable rents, Cost Rental can make a sustainable impact on national competitiveness and the attractiveness of our main urban centres as places to live and work.

The Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector recognises that rapidly increasing rental inflation is the most significant challenge to security of tenure in the rental sector and that there is a need for a targeted, time-bound and transparent policy response to the issue of rising rents. To address this, the Government introduced the Rent Predictability Measure. This measure, which was provided for by the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, introduced the concept of Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) to moderate the rate of rent increases in those areas of the country where rents are highest and rising quickly.

At this stage, some 68% of the approximate 311,000 tenancies in the private rental sector are covered by RPZ designations and come under the 4% rent increase restriction.

In order to support more robust enforcement of the RPZ regime, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 has provided the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) with additional powers and resources to carry out investigations and sanction landlords, if required, for any contravention of the 4% rent increase restriction in Rent Pressure Zones.

The Government has also introduced a number of affordability measures to support people who wish to purchase their own homes. In particular, a new loan offering, known as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, was introduced with effect from 1 February 2018. The loan enables credit-worthy first time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range. The low rate of fixed interest associated with the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan provides first time buyers with access to mortgage finance that they may not have otherwise been able to afford at a higher interest rate.

Additionally, the Help To Buy (HTB) incentive, announced in Budget 2017, is designed to assist first-time buyers with the deposit required to purchase or self-build a new house or apartment to live in as their home.

The incentive provides for a refund of Income Tax and DIRT paid over the previous four tax years, limited to a maximum of 5% of the purchase value. The HTB refund is capped at €20,000.

As of 30 November 2019, Revenue has received 34,760 applications, and a total of 16,550 HTB claims have been made, of which 15,903 are approved. The estimated total value of approved HTB claims to date is in the order of €236 million.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure, Pascal Donohoe TD, extended the initiative in its current form in Budget 2020. This means that the HTB initiative will remain for another two years until 31st December 2021.”

Increasing the supply of new homes at affordable prices is a key pillar of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan.

Under Rebuilding Ireland the Government has introduced the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund. The objective of the fund is to provide public off-site infrastructure to relieve infrastructure blockages, thereby enabling the accelerated delivery of housing in Dublin and in other urban areas in high demand. Funding of €200m has been allocated across 30 projects over the period to 2021 and work is underway to deliver the infrastructure with an associated housing delivery of up to 20,000 units. About 40% of these homes will be sold at rates which provide a discount on market prices. More than 3,000 will be social units and the remainder will be sold at market rates.

€310m has been made available under the Serviced Sites Fund over the period to 2021 for infrastructure works on local authority lands that will support the delivery of housing for rent or purchase at rates which provide a significant discount on open market costs. Two calls for proposals have been made to date which has resulted in ‘Approval in Principle’ being given for an allocation of c. €127m in funding to 35 projects and c. 3,200 more affordable homes. It is anticipated that a further call for proposals will issue in 2020.

In 2018, the affordability provisions set out in Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 came into force. Regulations in relation to a number of operational matters (including schemes of priority) were made earlier this year and further Regulations will be made in the coming months. Under affordable dwelling purchase arrangements, a maximum discount of 40% of the market price will be given. However, unlike previous affordable schemes, the percentage discount provided will remain a Local Authority equity charge until it is repaid.