Sunday 22 April 2018

Your Budget: 'Help-To-Buy being retained is great news, but mortgage relief cut tough on owners'

Estate Agent

Breda Bermingham Rober

Breda Bermingham Roberts
Breda Bermingham Roberts

KEY elements of the Budget for estate agent Breda Bermingham Roberts were the investment in social housing and the scaling back of mortgage interest relief.

Ms Bermingham Roberts reacted positively to the Budget as a whole, though she believed it could have contained more measures to help the rental sector.

"What we are seeing now is a lot of private landlords selling up because they just don't want the hassle," she said. "I can see the day coming where we only have big commercial companies doing lettings."

Ms Bermingham Roberts has been an estate agent in Arklow, Co Wicklow, since the 1970s and has seen the industry go from boom to bust to marginal recovery.

She was happy with the Government's decision to retain the Help-To-Buy scheme, which gives first-time buyers up to €20,000 towards purchasing a newly built home.

"I was delighted they didn't touch the scheme and I don't think it's tweaking the market, because it's only first-time buyers and new homes," she said.

But she felt mortgage interest relief for people in negative equity, which will now be reduced by 25pc a year for the next three years, could have been dealt with differently.

"I was kind of hoping if they were going to do something, they would have reduced the bands," she said.

"Right now it's available for people who bought from 2004 to 2012, most of the people I have here bought between 2006 and 2007 and they're in negative equity," she said.

"It would have been a nice idea to reduce the bands, maybe to 2009, for people who are still in negative equity. It's hard on people who have been struggling so long just to keep their home."

She also welcomed the introduction of the €750m home builders' fund and said it would help smaller developers to begin constructing homes.

"It's all about the supply," she said.

She said plans to build more than 1,000 social housing units and funding for councils to build housing were also all positives for addressing the housing crisis.

She felt VAT on new homes could have also been reduced to ease the shortage.

"It's currently 13pc, I would see no issue with reducing it to 9pc. In the UK, there's no VAT on new homes," she said.

Ms Bermingham Roberts runs Sherry Fitzgerald Myles Doyle on Arklow town's Main Street.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business