Government's €400 million shared equity scheme for first-time buyers now open for applications

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Céimin Burke 07/07/2022
The scheme is open to first-time buyers of newly built houses and apartments.
Source: Alamy Stock Photo
The scheme aims to help people secure a home by providing part of the purchase price of the dwelling in return for a minority equity stake.

A €400 MILLION scheme to help first-time buyers afford newly built homes has opened for applications.

The ‘First Home’ shared equity scheme is one of the key pillars in the government’s Housing for All plan.

It aims to help people secure a home by providing part of the purchase price of the dwelling in return for a minority equity stake.

The maximum stake the scheme will take is 20%, if the buyer is also availing of the Government’s separate Help to Buy scheme, and 30% if Help to Buy is not used.

The equity stake is free for the first five years followed by a cheap interest rate thereafter.

The scheme is open to first-time buyers of newly built houses and apartments in private developments anywhere in Ireland.

It is planned that the €400 million scheme will facilitate the purchase of up to 8,000 homes over a five-year period.

To secure the funding applicants will have to borrow the maximum mortgage amount available to them from the participating lenders.

The scheme is currently open to customers of AIB, including their EBS and Haven mortgage businesses, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB. Other mortgage providers may join up in the coming months.

The Central Bank cleared the way for banks to take part in the scheme last November but warned that, in the short term, the plan could increase house prices.

Sinn Féin has also been critical of the scheme, also saying it would lead to rising house prices. It previously tabled motions calling for the scheme to be scrapped.

Housing minister Darragh O’Brien said the scheme will “literally open the door for many first-time buyers.”

“This scheme we are launching today will support first-time buyers and those seeking a fresh start by helping to bridge the gap between what they can afford and the price of the home they wish to purchase.

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“It will make new homes more affordable and easier to access for first-time buyers, helping them get their foot on that crucial first rung of the property ladder. It will encourage the increased development of new build homes.

“This Government is working to give young and not so young people a real chance to buy their own home. Today’s announcement is another step in that direction,” O’Brien concluded.