The Help to Buy incentive (HTB) is a scheme to assist first-time purchasers with the deposit they need to buy or build a new house or apartment. The incentive gives a refund on Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) paid in the State over the previous four years, subject to limits outlined in the legislation. HTB was extended to the end of 2021 in Finance Act 2019.
The measure is designed to stimulate supply of new houses in the housing market and to assist first time buyers in accumulating a deposit for a new home. In order to help further meet these goals, I announced a temporary enhancement to the existing HTB scheme for the remainder of 2020 as part of the July Stimulus Package. The legislation to give effect to this is set out in the Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No.2) Act 2020.
The enhanced level of support under the scheme, announced as part of the July Stimulus Package, applies to applicants who, on or after 23 July 2020 (and up to 31 December 2020), enter into a contract for the purchase of a new house or who make the first draw down of the mortgage in the case of a self-build.
With regards to the Deputy’s question regarding the potential extension of the enhanced level of HTB support into 2021, With less than three weeks to go to the Budget, I am sure he will appreciate that I cannot comment on an issue that would have to be considered in the context of that Budget and the subsequent Finance Bill.
In relation to second-hand properties, an increase in the supply of new housing remains a priority aim of Government policy. The HTB scheme is specifically designed to encourage an increase in demand for affordable new build homes in order to encourage the construction of an additional supply of such properties. If HTB were also available for second-hand properties, it would limit the incentive effect on the provision of additional supply. There are no plans to extend HTB to second-hand properties.