Fine Gael Meath West TD, and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English, has said that Budget 2017 will assist first time buyers to get on the property ladder with a new measure designed to increase housing supply.
“Budget 2017 allocates significant funding of €1.2 billion for the Government’s housing action plan entitled, Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’.
“An innovative measure in this plan, announced today as part of Budget 2017, is the help to buy scheme for first time buyers. This initiative is designed to help first time buyers get on the property ladder and to increase the supply of housing.
“The initiative will be available to first time buyers from 19th July 2016 to the end of 2019 and is designed to encourage the building of new houses in that time frame. It will involve a 5% tax rebate for first time buyers on new builds up to €400,000. A maximum rebate of €20,000 will apply to properties from €400,000 to €600,000, and no rebate will be available for properties above €600,000.
“In order to ensure that this initiative increases supply without overheating the market, it must be limited to those buying newly built homes. In this way it will stimulate construction and increase supply, which should make housing more affordable for everyone. Fianna Fáil, in an effort to find something to criticise, assert that this initiative should not be restricted to new builds. It’s the same old Fianna Fáil with their reckless approach to housing and the economy. Extending such a tax relief to second hand housing, would only serve to push up prices, overheat the market and lead to another disastrous housing bubble.
“A number of other initiatives announced today will also help to increase housing supply. For example, the Living City Initiative will be expanded by removing the maximum floor area restriction and removing the requirement for properties to have been previously used as residential dwellings to avail of support. Qualification thresholds are also being changed to expand the initiative. The income ceiling on the Rent a Room scheme will increase, allowing home owners to rent out additional rooms while remaining within the scope of the scheme. It is thought this will help to increase the numbers of rooms available to third level students.
“The Repair and Leasing Initiative will allow local authorities to provide financial assistance to property owners to bring vacant properties up to standard which can then be leased for social housing. Capital provision of €6 million in 2017 will deliver 150 units under this new initiative. The Buy and Renew initiative will support local authorities and approved housing bodies to purchase private housing units in need of remediation, renew them and make them available for social housing use. An initial capital provision of €25 million will be available for this initiative in 2017. 800 vacant Local Authority units will also be brought back into use in 2017.
“According to Minister Coveney, the investment provided by the Exchequer and by local authorities will allow us to meet the housing needs of 21,050 families in 2017. In addition, local authorities will fund a range of housing services to the value of €92 million from surplus Local Property Tax receipts, bringing the total housing provision in 2017 to almost €1.3 billion. We are also providing an increase of €28 million in funding for homeless services. This is an increase of 40% on last year, and includes the provision of emergency supports for rough sleepers and ending reliance on the use of hotels for homeless families by mid-2017.
“Budget 2017 is another stepping stone in Fine Gael’s plan to use a strong economy to help make people’s lives better. Thanks to the careful economic management of recent years we now have the resources to target investments in key public services that will make a real difference to people’s lives. Meeting the housing needs of our people is a major part of this plan.”