Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Social and Affordable Housing Provision
491. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the options there are for persons to who wish to purchase, but cannot afford to buy houses at current prices, including affordable housing, shared ownership and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29034/14]
There are two types of house purchase loan available from local authorities: standard annuity loans targeted at lower income first time buyers and loans under the Home Choice Loan scheme which are available to qualifying middle income first time buyers.
The terms and conditions governing the operation, including eligibility terms, of annuity mortgages and the Home Choice Loan are set out under various Regulations such as the Housing (Local Authority Loans) Regulations 2009, the Housing (Home Choice Loan) Regulations 2009, and most recently in the Housing (Local Authority Loans) Regulations 2012. These are available on my Department's website:
The Government's 2011 Housing Policy Statement announced the standing down of all affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, in the context of a full review of Part V of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2013.
In 2013, I asked the Housing Agency to conduct a stand-alone review of the shared ownership scheme, including identification of the main difficulties and recommendations for mitigating measures. While I have received an initial draft of the review from the Agency, a number of issues have been identified that need further detailed financial analysis in order to fully assess the impact on local authority finances of possible mitigating measures. This data collection exercise has been initiated and will inform future approaches in relation to shared ownership.
The Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014, which has passed all stages in the Dáil, and which is being taken in the Seanad this week, will, among other things, underpin a new tenant purchase scheme to replace the 1995 scheme for existing local authority houses, which closed for new applications at the end of 2012. The new scheme will be broadly similar to the two incremental purchase schemes currently in operation, relating to newly-built local authority houses and local authority apartments respectively. I expect that the Bill will be enacted by the Summer, following which I will prescribe the commencement date and the detailed terms of the scheme.