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Housing, Local Government and Heritage | Upgrades to assistance for first-time house buyers without contributing to house price inflation

To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage the degree to which the various forms of assistance available for first-time house buyers are upgrading satisfactorily without contributing to house price inflation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


My Department has oversight of a number of supports under Pathway 1 of Housing For All, “Pathways to Home Ownership and Increasing Affordability”.

I have introduced the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme to assist first-time buyers purchasing Local Authority-delivered new homes. The significant majority of the planned 36,000 affordable homes under Housing For All will be developed by Local Authorities on public land under this scheme. Affordable Purchase homes are advertised on the relevant Local Authority’s website in advance of their sale, together with eligibility requirements such as household income limits. This scheme uses an equity share model to give eligible purchasers the opportunity of home ownership at a significant discount. The assessment of eligibility and the level of support available is household-specific, so purchasers are only supported when they need this assistance to afford the home.

The First Home Scheme, launched on 7 July 2022, employs a similar equity share model in order to support the purchase of new homes in the private market. Subject to eligibility criteria, it can provide funds up to 30% of the value of a newly constructed home. This scheme is intended to support up to 8,000 affordable purchases in the period out to 2026, and the State has committed funding of €200m, to be matched by the participating mortgage lenders. There are regional price ceilings, aligned to median prices for new homes purchased by first-time buyers, which restrict purchases. First Home provides only as much support as is necessary, on top of a standard mortgage, to purchase a home within these limits. The price ceilings were revised from 1 January 2023 in line with updated market data. These measures, together with the time- and budget-limited nature of the scheme, minimise any influence on house price inflation.

The new Local Authority Home Loan commenced on 4 January 2022 and is a Government backed mortgage scheme for those on modest or low incomes who cannot get sufficient funding from commercial banks to purchase or build a home. The loan can be used by first-time buyers for both for new and second-hand properties, or for self-builds. I have recently, along with the Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, signed amendment regulations to increase the house price limits in all local authority areas, as well as increasing the income limits for all applicants, with these changes effective from 1 March 2023. More information on the Local Authority Home Loan can be found on the new, improved website

In all these schemes, my Department is mindful of the environment of increased delivery costs and house price inflation. At a global level, construction costs have increased substantially over the past 12 months, primarily driven by international factors such as the war in Ukraine, post-COVID supply chain issues, and Brexit. Both the First Home Scheme and the Local Authority Home Loan incorporate regional price ceilings based on market prices. This ensures the supports are targeted at purchases in the lower part of the price distribution of the first-time buyer market, delivering support where it is needed most and encouraging new supply at these price points.

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