Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Finance
165. To ask the Minister for Finance if consideration will be given to extending the help to buy scheme to first-time buyers who wish to buy second hand properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38818/21]
The Help to Buy (HTB) incentive is a scheme to assist first-time purchasers with obtaining the deposit they need to buy or build a new house or apartment. The scheme 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.
An increase in the supply of new housing is fundamental to resolving the current housing crisis. One of the main aims of the policy underpinning the design of HTB was to help encourage the building of additional new properties. By restricting the scheme solely to new dwellings and new self-builds, it is anticipated that the resulting increase in demand for new build homes will encourage the construction of an additional supply of such properties. HTB was enhanced in July 2020 as part of the July Stimulus package last year and its duration was extended in Finance Bill 2020. These developments were in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government regarding the measure.
In relation to second-hand properties generally, an increase in the supply of new housing remains a priority aim of Government policy. As mentioned above, the HTB scheme is specifically designed to encourage an increase in demand for new build homes in order to encourage the construction of an additional supply of such properties. A move to include second-hand properties within the scope of the relief would not improve the effectiveness of the relief; on the contrary, it could serve to dilute the incentive effect of the measure in terms of encouraging additional supply.
In the normal course of events, the future of the scheme, beyond its current sunset date of 31 December 2021, is a matter that would fall to be considered by Government in the context of Budget 2022 and the subsequent Finance Bill.