Written answers

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Home Loan Scheme

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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698. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when he was first informed that the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme was oversubscribed and that local authorities were unable to process application forms due to a lack of funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11690/19]

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin Fingal, Independent)
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704. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his views on the reports of the discontinuance of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; the reason this information was not put in the public domain; and his plans to enable persons who sought to benefit from it to gain access to the scheme. [11771/19]

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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705. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11774/19]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 698, 704 and 705 together.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was launched in February of last year to replace the existing local authority mortgage schemes, which were funded through loans that local authorities obtained from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) for that purpose.

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans under the scheme would be approximately €200 million over three years. The scheme has proven to be far more successful than originally anticipated, and the level of funding issued by local authorities to end January 2019 is approximately €106m, which is ahead of initial estimates for the scheme.

My officials have kept me informed regarding the progress of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on a regular basis and have been engaging with officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the scheme since October 2018, when it became clear that the rate at which loans were being approved was higher than was originally anticipated. However, at that stage it was not yet clear that these approvals were being translated into actual loans issued by the local authorities. In fact much of the criticism at the time was that insufficient loans were being approved and/or drawn down. However, as Minister I had made a commitment on launching the scheme that I would seek further funding for it at an early stage, if necessary, given my belief in its potential. It was clear from data gathered towards the end of the year that drawdowns were happening at an increased rate. Indeed, by the end of January €106m had been drawn down, which accounted for some 53% of the available funding, at which point €66m would have been more consistent with the expectation of funds being drawn down over a three year period. I informed the Dáil on 29 January 2019 that the scheme had proven to be more successful than initially anticipated, as a result of which it would require a further tranche of funds to be borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency in order to enable its continuation. I further indicated that my Department was in discussions with the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and Finance with regard to an extension of the scheme and that when these discussions were concluded I would make an announcement on the matter.

A meeting with the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform was scheduled for 4 February 2019. However, this had to be rescheduled and took place on 5 March 2019. At no time was the first tranche of funding depleted and, following the meeting on 5 March 2019, I informed the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government that local authorities could continue to accept applications as discussions had commenced on further funding. As of the end of January 2019, €106m has been lent, supporting 575 individuals and families to buy their first home.

I am currently in discussions with the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform regarding further funding for the scheme. Specific allocations to local authorities for 2019 will be finalised when those discussions have concluded. However, in the meantime the scheme remains open and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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699. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of applications to the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme processed by the Housing Agency; the number recommended by the Housing Agency; the number refused; the number sent back for further information; the amount recommended; the number of loans under the scheme drawn down to date; the value of such loans; the corresponding data for all information requested by local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11691/19]

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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706. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of applications made under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in County Tipperary; the number that were approved; the overall loan allocation under the scheme on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11778/19]

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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710. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of applications made under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme for south County Dublin. [11871/19]

Photo of Michael HartyMichael Harty (Clare, Independent)
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712. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of persons in County Clare assisted in buying their first home by availing of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; the number of applicants in County Clare who have been approved but have not drawn down the funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12034/19]

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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727. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of loan applications to the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in County Mayo; and the number approved. [12349/19]

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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728. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the amount the local authority in County Mayo has been allocated under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and the amount spent or drawn down. [12350/19]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 699, 706, 710, 712, 727 and 728 together.

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

The most recent figures, as at the end of February 2019, indicate that the Housing Agency had assessed 4,153 applications since the scheme began. Of these, 674 were deemed invalid, 1,772 were recommended for approval, and 1,682 were recommended for refusal. The data provided does not include figures on the number of applications returned for further information.

The Housing Agency compiles figures on the number of applications it has assessed and subsequently recommended to approve on a county-by-county basis, and the available figures as of the end of February 2019 are as set out in the following table.

Local Authority Applications AssessedRecommended to Approve
Carlow County Council 4817
Cavan County Council 188
Clare County Council 5419
Cork City Council 12563
Cork County Council 282159
Donegal County Council 3420
Dublin City Council 395241
Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County Council 9249
Fingal County Council 490264
Galway City Council 7434
Galway County Council 12346
Kerry County Council 9741
Kildare County Council 17387
Kilkenny County Council 3016
Laois County Council 7942
Leitrim County Council 114
Limerick City & County Council 9755
Longford County Council 3316
Louth County Council 8937
Mayo County Council 5723
Meath County Council 227142
Monaghan County Council 259
Offaly County Council 4415
Roscommon County Council 3113
Sligo County Council 4422
South Dublin County Council 247128
Tipperary County Council 9537
Waterford City & County Council 6021
Westmeath County Council 2919
Wexford County Council 10154
Wicklow County Council 15071
Total 3,4541,772

In addition to this, my Department publishes information on the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Information up to the end of Quarter 3 2018, including in relation to number and value of mortgage drawdowns, is available on the Department's website at the following link: .

As part of the Review of the operation of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, my Department obtained information form the local authorities on loans drawn down to the end of January. These details are set out in the following table.

Local AuthorityLoans issued to end January 2019Value of loans issued to end January 2019
Carlow County Council5€510,000
Cavan County Council1€180,000
Clare County Council14€1,708,622
Cork City Council1€120,000
Cork County Council25€4,058,900
Donegal County Council3€204,875
Dublin City Council111€23,525,855
Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County Council5€1,264,500
Fingal County Council82€18,254,259
Galway City Council11€1,679,000
Galway County Council17€2,263,781
Kerry County Council6€812,600
Kildare County Council68€14,973,597
Kilkenny County Council6€803,240
Laois County Council12€1,836,100
Leitrim County Council0€0
Limerick City & County Council2€343,800
Longford County Council5€356,875
Louth County Council10€1,829,500
Mayo County Council8€793,100
Meath County Council57€11,051,630
Monaghan County Council1€67,500
Offaly County Council0€0
Roscommon County Council2€242,000
Sligo County Council8€869,000
South Dublin County Council29€6,671,918
Tipperary County Council15€1,524,950
Waterford City & County Council14€2,039,292
Westmeath County Council6€971,500
Wexford County Council33€3,771,100
Wicklow County Council18€3,992,475
Total575€106,719,969

In relation to the allocations of funding to individual local authorities under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan to individual local authorities, the final allocations assigned to each local authority for mortgage and home improvement loans in 2018 are detailed in the below table. These final allocations are reflective of an internal rebalancing exercise carried out by my Department in respect of the approved allocations notified to the local authorities based on estimated drawdowns for 2018 as notified by the authorities.

County CouncilsFinal Allocation 2018 (€)
Carlow5,200,000
Cavan2,100,000
Clare4,500,000
Cork6,000,000
DL/Rathdown10,020,000
Donegal2,000,000
Fingal19,276,000
Galway3,924,000
Kerry3,075,000
Kildare8,000,000
Kilkenny6,080,000
Laois5,500,000
Leitrim500,000
Longford1,200,000
Louth4,300,000
Mayo5,456,036
Meath9,300,000
Monaghan5,000,000
Offaly1,700,000
Roscommon1,500,000
Sligo3,375,000
South Dublin25,000,000
Tipperary1,978,470
Westmeath4,576,000
Wexford 7,000,000
Wicklow4,000,000
City Councils
Cork1,520,000
Dublin50,000,000
Galway3,000,000
City & County Councils
Limerick2,545,916
Waterford2,000,000
TOTAL209,626,422

Since its launch in February 2018, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan has proven to be more successful than was initially anticipated. Discussions are ongoing with the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and Finance with regard to further funding for the scheme, and once these discussions have concluded my Department will be in touch with local authorities regarding their specific allocations for 2019. However, in the meantime the scheme remains open and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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700. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the process for Rebuilding Ireland home loan mortgage applications; if county council approval should be obtained before a deposit is paid; if the 2019 capital loan amounts have issued to each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11696/19]

Photo of Eoghan MurphyEoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, Fine Gael)
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The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme is administered by local authorities in their areas of responsibility. Each authority has a credit committee which makes the final decision on whether a loan is approved.  The Housing Agency provides a central assessment service for the local authorities. Based on a rigorous financial analysis, the Housing Agency make a recommendation for approval or rejection to the local authorities on each application made under the scheme.

The assessments carried out by the Housing Agency and the decisions made by local authority credit committees are made in accordance with the credit policy issued under the Regulations establishing the scheme. The credit policy sets out strict criteria for determining the eligibility of a person to qualify for loan approval and the Housing Agency has recommended that applications be rejected in 49% of the cases it has assessed. With regard to when a person should pay a deposit on a property, that is a matter for individuals themselves to decide.

I am currently in discussions with the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform regarding further funding for the scheme.  Specific allocations to local authorities for 2019 will be finalised when those discussions have concluded.  In the meantime the scheme remains operational and all local authorities should continue to receive and process applications.

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