Sinn Féin’s grand plans to make home ownership easier for people contain punitive proposals that would increase costs and obliterate vital schemes, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Fine Gael Housing Spokesperson, Senator John Cummins said that proposals to double stamp duty, a tax on buying a home, from 1% to 2% on all home purchased with a value between €70,000 and €1 million beggars belief.
Senator Cummins said: “Given that the median house price nationally currently stands at €320,000 this would add a tax of €3,200 to every house purchased or built at a time when Sinn Féin are demanding lower house prices – you actually couldn’t make it up.
“And they continue to steamroll ahead with their proposal to abolish the Help to Buy Scheme. This is something I have consistently spoken out against. Anyone who is in the business of understanding how people get on the property ladder knows how important this measure has been to so many to helping them get a deposit together to buy a home.
“By giving applicants four years of their tax back as a grant towards the deposit for their new home, the Help to Buy scheme has been nothing short of a lifeline to over 42,000 individuals and families. Sinn Féin’s alternative budget contains figures which provide for an additional €500 renters tax credit. So under Sinn Féin’s plans, Eoin Ó Broin would give prospective purchasers €1000 with one hand and he would take €30,000 away with the other. You don’t need to be an accountant to know that simply doesn’t add up.
“The 10% deposit requirement is a Central Bank rule and no matter who is in government, this will remain the case. The reality is if the Help to Buy scheme was taken away in January 2024, what we would inevitably see would be less homes being built. If builders know less people will be able to purchase, they will react by reducing supply and that is the very last thing we need in a constrained housing market”.
Senator Cummins added: “They are also intent on abolishing a scheme that makes it cheaper to purchase a house. While the government has expanded the First Home Scheme to enable purchasers who have received a valid notice to quit to purchase the home they are renting and to those who want to build their first home, Sinn Féin are determined to abolish this essential support.
“The First Home Scheme enables the state to take an equity stake of up to 30% in the purchase of, or cost of, building a new home, thereby reducing the mortgage required and opening up home ownership to a whole new cohort of middle-income earners.
“The message from Sinn Fein’s alternative Budget is clear, they want to double the tax on purchasing a home, while simultaneously removing vital supports such as the Help to Buy and the First Home Scheme. This should be a stark signal for the many striving for home ownership.”