New Government-backed mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers

The loan can be used for new or used properties - or to build your own home

New Government-backed mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers

Eoghan Murphy. Image:

State aid is to be offered to people to help them buy their first home in a new Government-backed mortgage scheme.

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, depending on which product a person gets under the Affordable Mortgage Scheme.

The new scheme offers lower rates than most banks, while the interest will also be fixed for the duration of the loan.

The loan can be used by people for new and used properties, or to build their own home.

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

There will also be a limit on the price of a home that can be bought with the scheme.

In Dublin, Cork and Galway the maximum value is €320,000.

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

It is part of the Rebuilding Ireland plans by the Government.

Latest figures from the Department of Housing show planning permissions for 19,246 new homes were granted in the 12 month period to end June 2017.

This is an increase of 49% year on year.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy told Newstalk Breakfast it is hoping to fill a gap for some people.

"We recognise that in providing 50,000 new social housing homes under the Rebuilding Ireland action plan we are providing for people who are eligible for social housing. 

"But there is a cohort of people who aren't eligible for social housing but can't afford homes at the moment, and what we want to do is bring in affordable housing for them."

Asked if it could have any impact on existing house prices, Minister Murphy said it is about affordability, not availability: "It's an affordability measure at it's heart... this is an affordability measure - it's not a direct supply side measure nor is it a direct demand side measure.

"But it may have some impact on both sides of the ledger - but that impact will be limited because we are talking about a price cap on the homes, we're talking about essentially one percent of the mortgage market.

"We know the demand is already there".

Affordable Rental Scheme

The Government has also announced a scheme to tackle rising rents.

It says while house prices are still well off their peak nationally, at 71% of what they were in 2007, rents in places like Dublin have surpassed their 2007 peak by 14%.

The new Affordable Rental Scheme will use a cost rental model - meaning that the rent paid covers the cost of building the property, together with ongoing management and maintenance charges, but with a minimal profit margin included.

It says this will provide greater certainty around the rent, regardless of what is happening in the market.

A pilot project is currently being carried out in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council using publicly-owned land.

the Department of Housing says it expects this pilot to go to the market "later this year" to secure a development partner and the best value for the State and renters.

Currently, discussions are ongoing with the European Investment Bank about cost rental and other affordable models that could work in Ireland.