Online searches for properties surge after announcement of new mortgage scheme

Daft.ie says it has seen a 9% increase in searches for qualifying properties in the wake of the new scheme

Online searches for properties surge after announcement of new mortgage scheme

Apartments for sale signs in Co Kildare in 2007 | Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Online property searches have surged since the Government announced its new scheme to help first-time buyers.

Daft.ie says over 9% more people are looking at homes on its site that qualify for the new low-cost mortgage scheme.

Under the scheme announced last month, first-time buyers will be able to get a loan worth up to €288,000 with an interest rate of 2.25% for 30 years, or 2% for 25 years

A person's annual gross income cannot exceed €50,000 - or €75,000 in the case of a joint application.

In Dublin, Cork and Galway the maximum value of a home that can be bought through the scheme is €320,000.

The limit for the rest of the country is €250,000.

The new scheme opened for applications yesterday.

According to Daft, searches for properties in the higher tier increase 11% week-on-week after the announcement, while there was an increase of 7% for properties in the lower tier.

Daft's Martin Clancy said: "Our research has revealed that the announcement has had a very definite impact on the property searches users are now making."

NUI Galway housing expert Dr Padraic Kenna, however, says there is a big difference between the numbers expressing interest and the numbers who'll be able to buy a home.

He told Newstalk Breakfast: "These are asking prices - I just assume that the ultimate price is going to be subject to negotiation. The ultimate price is going to be what credit or mortgage credit people can access."

"It's not all about asking prices. There's a lot of bigger factors there determining prices, [and] one of the biggest ones is access to credit."