750 applications have now been approved under the First Home Scheme since it was launched by the Government in July of last year.
The scheme, which was set up to help first-time buyers bridge the gap between their mortgage, deposits and the price of a new home, has been promoted through a joint venture between the State and three banks; AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.
A shared equity scheme, any buyer is eligible to receive funds up to 20% of the purchase price of a property, with the First Home Scheme taking a percentage of ownership in return.
Of the 750 applications approved to date – 335 contracts have been issued, with 137 purchasers now living in their new homes. A remaining 254 applications are currently going through an approval process, which, it is anticipated will conclude shortly.
These new figures come as the Government has announced its intention to exceed a target of building 28,000 homes by the end of 2023.
After completing its first review, the Government has also said that it will now increase the limit required for eligible homes to €75,000 in 30 of 31 local authority areas. An extension of the scheme, this would mean that thousands of more households will now be able to qualify for eligibility.
Under this review, properties valued at upwards of €475,000 will now be available to purchase, while every new house valued at €325,000 or less will also be eligible.
Speaking on the new changes, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said that “the scheme is working effectively and it’s great to see that the flexibility we’ve built into it allows it to extend its reach and help more people. It’s an excellent support for renters who want to become buyers and ultimately helps them bridge the affordability gap.”
Chief Executive of the First Home Scheme, Michael Broderick noted that almost 2,000 people have expressed an interest in it so far, while over 500 approvals have been made across 23 counties in the scheme’s first three months from July to September.
Mr Broderick added that “we promised at our launch in July that we’d review the price ceilings twice a year and we’re delighted that, following our first review, we can now extend the Scheme to a whole new cohort of buyers.”
“For those who found themselves above the old limits, this is now a great opportunity for them to benefit from the Scheme in 2023.”