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Soc Dems want to lock thousands of first time buyers out of the housing market – Cummins

30th May 2023 - Senator John Cummins

The Social Democrats want to lock thousands of first-time buyers out of the housing market, a Fine Gael Senator has said.


John Cummins, Fine Gael spokesperson on Housing, said it is clear from their motion that they are following in Sinn Fein’s footsteps in wanting to limit home ownership to those who can save a 10% deposit and get a sufficient mortgage offer.


Senator Cummins said: “If we pursued the Soc Dems’ policies, it would immediately put home ownership out of the reach of thousands of first-time buyers.


“Their 2020 Manifesto explicitly said they would scrap the Help to Buy Scheme and they voted against the Affordable Housing Bill 2021 which introduced the First Home Scheme.


“The Help to Buy Scheme was introduced by Fine Gael in Budget 2017. So far it has assisted 39,657 individuals and couples with their deposit to purchase or build their first home.


“By giving applicants four years of their tax back, up to €30,000, as a grant towards a deposit for their new home, the Help to Buy scheme has been nothing short of a lifeline for so many young purchasers.


“It is clear from this new motion that the Social Democrats are following in Sinn Fein’s footsteps in wanting to abolish a scheme which is assisting individuals and couples to purchase their first home.


“The Central Bank requires purchasers to have a 10% deposit to buy a home, that will continue to be the case regardless of whom is in Government. The Social Democrats, along with parties on the left want to abolish this essential support and replace it with a renter’s tax credit.


“In short, they would give prospective purchasers €1000-€2000 with one hand and would take €30,000 away with the other. If purchasers cannot save a 10% deposit, there is no question that less homes will be built because there will be a drop off in mortgage approvals.”

Senator Cummins continued: “The First Home Shared Equity Scheme was set up to bridge the gap between the value of a new home and the mortgage a prospective buyer can get from a bank.


“Despite only being launched last summer, already over 3,500 people have registered their interest in the scheme and in the first quarter of this year, over 1300 purchasers in 24 counties around the country have been approved and are now eligible to purchase their own home using the scheme.


“Under the scheme, an equity stake of up to 30% can be taken in the purchase of a new home; 20% if being combined with the Help to Buy.


“My party and I believe it is appropriate for the State to support those who wish to own their own home. Importantly this equity can be fully bought out when the purchaser is in a better position to do so”.


Senator Cummins concluded: “I think the public are growing tired of hearing the Social Democrats and other parties on the left criticising the lack of delivery on housing, but consistently failing to outline to the public the detail of their own plans so they can be scrutinised.


“Worse still, they are now proposing to abolish vital supports that have been proven to work for so many people. Prospective home buyers should know the Social Democrats and other parties on the left want to strip away every support for those working hard with the dream of owning their own home.


“Over 40,000 people are living in their own homes today as a result of these schemes and yet the opposition want them abolished – is it because they are against home ownership? Either way it should sound alarm bells for those striving for home ownership.”



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