Written answers

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Housing Schemes

Photo of Mairead FarrellMairead Farrell (Galway West, Sinn Fein)
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638. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when the review will be published for the 2016 tenant incremental purchase scheme. [32026/21]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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The Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme came into operation on 1 January 2016. The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme. To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of social housing support for at least one year.

A review of the first 12 months of the Scheme’s operation has been undertaken. In addition, the Programme for Government commits to maintaining the right of social housing tenants to purchase their own home with some changes to eligibility. The review and the commitments in the Programme for Government are being examined as part of the work on the broader social housing reform agenda. I expect to be in a position to finalise changes to the Scheme once the work on these reform measures is complete.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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639. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the extent to which a public authority housing programme is expected to deliver affordable housing throughout north County Kildare; if a special effort will be made to ensure an accelerated programme in this regard within the shortest possible timeframe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32101/21]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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The Affordable Housing Bill 2021, which is currently before the Oireachtas, provides for three schemes delivering on the Programme for Government commitment to put affordability at the heart of the housing system and prioritise the increased supply of affordable homes through (1) affordable homes on local authority lands, (2) a new affordable purchase shared equity scheme, and (3) the introduction of a new form of tenure in Cost Rental.

Affordable homes on local authority land are to be made available through the support of the €310 million Serviced Sites Fund (SSF).

To date, the Department has received one application from Kildare County Council for funding under the Serviced Sites Fund, for affordable homes in a planned mixed tenure development in Ardclough, Celbridge. The Department is currently liasing with Kildare County Council to progress these affordable homes.

Information on the schemes that have received approval in principle under the Serviced Sites Fund are available at:

www.rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-gives-the-go-ahead-for-ten-local-authority-sites-for-affordable-housing-under-the-serviced-sites-fund/ , and

www.rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-approves-funding-of-e84m-to-support-delivery-of-1770-affordable-homes-under-the-ssf/ .

These homes will come with an initial price of between 10% and 40% below market price, with the discount provided remaining as fully-repayable equity charge against the property. The scheme is targeted at first-time buyers, with some limited exceptions as detailed in the Affordable Housing 2021 Bill.

In addition to the affordable homes to be delivered through the SSF, Budget 2021 allocated €75 million for the forthcoming Affordable Purchase Shared Equity Scheme, which is aimed at first-time buyers buying a new-build private home. It will help first-time buyers secure their own home by bridging the gap between the mortgage available to them and the price of the home they want. Work on the detailed design of the proposed scheme is ongoing and at an advanced stage.

The provision of new-build affordable homes through the measures mentioned above are designed to increase housing supply in general, thereby helping to address the under-supply that currently exists.

Some people, however, may prefer to rent than to buy, making Cost Rental a more appropriate and viable option. Three initial Cost Rental projects are already underway. The first Cost Rental homes in Ireland, 50 two-bedroom apartments at Enniskerry Road, Stepaside, will be delivered by the Tuath and Respond Approved Housing Bodies in Quarter 3 2021. Dublin City Council is also progressing a site at Emmet Road, Inchicore (the former St Michael’s Estate), and the LDA is collaborating with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on a site at Shanganagh, Shankill.

The provision of Cost Rental housing is also being implemented through the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme, allocated €35m in Budget 2021. I have approved in principle the financing, this year, of 390 new homes across eight sites, located in Dublin, the Greater Dublin Area, and Cork. CREL support and careful cost management has generated initial rents which are at least 25% below comparable open market prices, delivering significantly improved affordability for renters.

In addition to the measures in the Affordable Housing Bill 2021, the Land Development Agency (LDA) 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. Information on the work of the LDA is available at: www.lda.ie/ .

Other affordability measures, such as the Help to Buy Scheme, and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, are also available to eligible purchasers nationally to make home ownership more affordable.

The Help to Buy Scheme may return tax paid in the previous four years to eligible first-time buyers, up to a maximum amount of €30,000, for a new home. Information is available online at: www.revenue.ie/en/property/help-to-buy-incentive/index.aspx .

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan enables credit worthy first time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range. There are no set minimum income limits; however, applicants do need to have sufficient borrowing and repayment capacity and must be capable of repaying the mortgage. Further information on the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is available at www.rebuildingirelandhomeloan.ie/ .


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