Sunday 19 November 2017

First-time buyers are left to hanker after 'missing promises' in the Budget

There was no good news for first-time buyers
There was no good news for first-time buyers
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

Budget 2016 will leave first-time buyers feeling somewhat bereft - after beneficial measures promised last year were glaring in their absence in the Finance Minister's speech.

FTBs will in particular be left wondering what happened to the pledge made this time last year for a Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) holiday on savings for a period of one year - a refund on the 41pc DIRT incurred whilst saving up funds towards their first home. This was to have applied for up to 20pc of the price of the property and until the end of 2017.

The intention of the DIRT holiday was to offset some of the pressures of the Central Bank's new stricter lending regime introduced at the start of the year with a stiff 20pc deposit requirement.

However, an intervention by the Taoiseach which later resulted in a lesser 10pc stipulation for first timers may have caused Mr Noonan to omit the DIRT pledge entirely yesterday.

Many home buyers would also have been hopeful for some form of a return of mortgage interest relief, which was widely available to first-time buyers prior to December 2012, but abolished after the downturn kicked in.

Those who still qualify with mortgages taken out before that date will now still see the benefit cease after 2017.

Many in the property sector expected Mr Noonan's loosening of the belt to include some form of new mortgage interest relief - there was speculation that something would be designed to help families secure that vital first step on the property ladder.

More bad news for FTBs comes on the supply front, with expensive homes in cities unlikely to get cheaper, given that NAMA's 20,000 promised housing units announced largely for the Dublin area, will supply only around a quarter of annual needs.

Irish Independent

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