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3,000 first time buyers to benefit from new affordable housing scheme

31st January 2021 - Emer Higgins, TD

A new plan for affordable housing where the State provides equity support should help 3,000 individuals or families in getting a new home, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Emer Higgins, a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage , said the Affordable Housing Bill 2020,  which was recently published by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, could help bridge the affordability gap and boost supply in the provision of new homes.

Deputy Higgins said, “Many young people and couples are paying upwards of €1,500 rent in many urban areas for a two-bed apartment, when they would much prefer to be paying a €1,000 mortgage for a home they will actually own.

“However, many of them can’t afford to do that because, they either can’t get a mortgage as they can’t save for a deposit, or they can’t find a home locally that is in their price range. The nub of the problem is: affordability and supply. And, that’s why I’m pleased that the ‘Housing For All’ plan aims to bridge the affordability gap and boost supply.

“The Shared Equity Scheme, which was published in this new Bill, is an affordability measure that should help 3,000 couples, individuals or families caught in that rental trap.

“It involves the State taking a stake of up to 30% in any new build home subject to regional price caps, and means a buyer takes out a 70% mortgage after that.

“From the buyer’s perspective there’s no charge on that 30% for the first 5 years and there’s no onus to pay off the 30% until the house is sold, so it’s an attractive proposition that makes buying your own home more affordable and more achievable. It is based on the fact that there are planning permissions for over 40,000 units in Dublin alone but that the building of these homes isn’t happening fast enough.

“This scheme is about incentivising building for existing planning permissions on a large scale to boost supply as quickly as possible. €75m, 2% of the overall Housing Budget, has been put aside to cover 3,000 homes.

“I think this is a really positive development and I hope that many young people, couples and families will benefit from this,” concluded Deputy Higgins.

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