Housing Schemes Available in Ireland to Help Get on the Property Ladder

It can be confusing to know what housing schemes in Ireland are available or if you are eligible for them.

It is important to do your research before you decide to purchase your dream home. You may discover you will receive cashback if you decide to purchase a vacant property or if you use energy efficient applications. These savings can then go towards refurbishment or any DIY projects.

After a period of dark days in terms of rising rates and rising rents, it seems a cloud may be lifting with the launch of additional housing schemes. The First Home Scheme is now available for applications.

The scheme, launched on the 7th of July, makes it easier for First-Time Buyers to afford a new build home as part of the Government’s Housing for All Strategy. The scheme provides buyers with some of the purchase price for their home, however, the government takes a minority equity stake in return.

Minister Darragh O’Brien also announced details of the Croí Connaithe scheme which is to be launched soon. The scheme will provide grants of up to €30,000 to help first-time buyers with the cost of renovating vacant buildings.

Whether you are a first-time buyer, a second-time buyer or a self-builder, there are housing schemes available for you to avail of. Continue reading to see our summary of the current housing schemes available to prospective mortgage seekers.

1. Help to Buy – First Time Buyers, New Builds

The Help to Buy Scheme is a tax refund initiative worth up to €30,000 to home buyers in Ireland. The scheme gives a refund of the income tax and (DIRT) you have paid in Ireland over the previous 4 tax years.

Prospective homeowners can now also claim up to 10 per cent of the house price up to €300,000 and up to €30,000 on properties with a maximum value of €500,000. The scheme only applies to newly built or a self-build property.

As a first-time buyer, you must not have previously purchased or built a home yourself or with any other person. Furthermore, joint buyers will both need to be first time buyers in order to qualify for the scheme and you must live in the property for a minimum of five years after you buy or build it. The scheme is currently being reviewed and will be available till December 2025.

Please see our blogpost on the Help to Buy Scheme for more information.

2. The First Home Scheme – First Time Buyers, only New Builds

The First Home shared equity housing scheme helps first time buyers who are priced out of the market to purchase a new build property. The State will pay up to 30% of the cost of the new home. A maximum amount of 20% will be provided if Help-to-Buy is used. This is in return for a stake/share in the home equivalent to the level of funding provided.

If you wish, you can buy back the stake at any time, but you don’t have to. However, if you sell the property, you will need to return the share back to the State. For example, if you got 20% of the purchase price under the scheme, at sale, you return 20% of the sale price.

Specifically, the First Home Scheme is open to first time buyers who have a Mortgage Approval with a Participating Lender. The properties must be new-build houses or apartments at a price of up to certain limits based on location. Prices will range from about €225,000 to approximately €500,000. For more information about this scheme, please see our blogpost.

Application Process

You can check if your eligible using the eligibility calculator on the First Home Scheme website.

3.Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund Scheme

The Croí Cónaithe Scheme provides grants of up to €50,000 which is delivered through local authorities to support the refurbishment of vacant and derelict properties.

Refurbishment costs that will exceed the standard grant of up to €30,000 will get a maximum top-up grant amount of up to €20,000. However, applications in areas of high vacancy or dereliction will be prioritized.

With this in mind, the scheme is only available to individuals or households for which the property will be their principal private residence. This housing scheme is not available to undertakings and/or developers and properties must be vacant for at least two years and built before 1993.

Application Process

For further information, please contact the Vacant Homes Officer in your local authority.

4. Home Improvements Grants and Schemes

The SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) is trying to play its part in helping Irish households become more environmentally sustainable. As a result, there are various grants available to homeowners. Therefore, it might be worth your time to explore the various options. There are numerous conditions to qualify for each grant, but it might be worth it.

Home improvements that might qualify you for a grant are:

  • Insulation
  • Solar Thermal
  • Building Energy Rating (BER)
  • Heat Pump System
  • Heating Controls
  • Solar water heating grant

Application Process:

To apply for this housing scheme, people in current employment need to apply through revenue via My Account. Self-employed people should apply through Revenue Online System (ROS).

In addition, Revenue will pay your refund directly to your builder/developer and deduct the cost from your property. To find out more information on home improvement grants, please see our blogpost on Home Improvement Loans.

5. Local Authority Schemes 

There are a number of Government backed mortgages that help people on low incomes or social housing tenants gain home ownership. They are as follows:

Local Authority Home Loan – First Time Buyers on Limited Income 

  • The Local Authority Home Loan is available to first-time buyers and ‘fresh start’ applicants including people who are divorced, separated, or whose relationship has ended. Lastly, joint applicants must have a combined gross annual income of less than €75,000.

Mortgage Allowance Scheme – Social Housing Tenants

  • This Mortgage Allowance Housing Scheme helps with the transition from social housing to mortgage payment. Eligible participants include social housing tenants and tenant purchasers who are taking out a mortgage to buy or build a private house. Also, the cost of the mortgage must be at least €38,092.14.

Not Sure Where To Start?

If you are still unsure about housing schemes or what scheme is best for you do not worry! Our brokers are available to offer expert support, advice and to get you the best mortgage deal.

Call us today for a free quote on (061) 599990 or email [email protected].

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