Written answers

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

House Purchase Schemes

Photo of Cathal CroweCathal Crowe (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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455. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if consideration will be given to introducing measures to incentivise single persons to purchase a house given the difficulties a solo buyer will have in meeting mortgage criteria on one salary. [16307/21]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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In line with the commitment to put affordability at the heart of the housing system in the Programme for Government, ‘Our Shared Future’, Government approved the priority drafting of the Affordable Housing Bill 2020 on 22 December 2020, and I published the General Scheme on 20 January last.

The Bill includes provisions to underpin three schemes delivering on the Programme for Government commitment to prioritise the increased supply of affordable homes through (1) affordable homes for purchase delivered by local authorities (2) a new affordable purchase shared equity scheme for private homes, and (3) the introduction of a new form of tenure in Cost Rental. The drafting of the Bill is progressing well.

The Serviced Sites Fund supports affordable homes delivered by local authorities, funding infrastructure on local authority lands to enable the delivery of affordable homes to purchase or rent. Funding of almost €188 million has been approved in principle in support of 38 infrastructure projects in 14 local authority areas, which will assist in the delivery of almost 4,000 more affordable homes. In addition to these projects, approval in principle has also been given to three further applications for SSF funding, namely, Dublin City Council's projects in Emmet Road and Oscar Traynor Road, and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council's project in Shanganagh. Affordable homes provided by local authorities via the SSF will come with an initial purchase price of between 10% and 40% below market prices, bringing many within the reach of single purchasers.

Another element of the Bill, the Affordable Purchase Shared Equity scheme, is designed to help bridge the gap, by means of an equity stake, between the mortgage people have and the price of the new home they wish to buy. This affordability measure will enable First Time Buyers, including single people, to bridge the affordability gap, allowing them to buy a new home.

As well as the affordability measures in the Bill, the Land Development Agency is tasked to work with Government Departments, local authorities, state agencies and other stakeholders to assemble strategic sites in urban areas and ensure the sustainable development of social and affordable homes for rent and purchase. On establishment, the LDA had access to an initial tranche of 8 sites that have near term delivery potential for approximately 3,400 new homes. The LDA will have regard to Government policy, and all appropriate legislation, on the appropriate tenure mix for developments on public land, as well as the criteria for the operation of cost rental and affordable housing schemes. The LDA will deliver affordable homes which will be available to single buyers.

Additional affordability measures, such as the Help to buy scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, are already available to eligible applicants.

The Help to Buy Scheme has had 23,545 approvals by the end of February 2021, with the estimated total value of approved Help to Buy claims to date in the order of €389.2 million.

At the end of February 2021, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan has had 3,817 approvals. Budget 2021 confirmed that €210 million has been sanctioned for RIHL lending in 2021.


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