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AIB urges new government to launch shared ownership plan


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Still a struggle: House prices across the country are still rising, but at a lower rate on a monthly basis. Stock picture

Still a struggle: House prices across the country are still rising, but at a lower rate on a monthly basis. Stock picture

Still a struggle: House prices across the country are still rising, but at a lower rate on a monthly basis. Stock picture

The largest bank in the country says a new government should launch a housing scheme which would enable low and middle-income workers to buy a home in conjunction with their local authority.

The shared ownership plan would help those earning too much to qualify for social housing, but too little to get a big enough mortgage to buy their own home.

Such a scheme would tackle affordability, the main stumbling block for new buyers, AIB said in a research paper.

The proposed scheme would see a household buy a portion of a property with a traditional mortgage. The buyers would need to meet Central Bank lending limits.

The other portion of the home would be owned by a local authority or housing association, with the household paying rent on that part.

No more than 40pc of the property's value would be owned by the local authority or housing association. Rent would be at a discounted rate.

Households would be given flexible payment options to gradually increase their ownership of the property by buying out the local authority and paying rent on a smaller part.

A State affordable purchase scheme was recently introduced but is limited to homes built on local authority and State-owned land. AIB said this restricts the supply of affordable homes.

The proposal comes as the next government is set to benefit from a pick-up in house and apartment completions.

New figures show there were 6,450 new homes completed in the last three months of last year, a rise of 18.5pc on the same period a year earlier.

This took the number of new home completions last year to 21,241, up from 17,952 built in 2018, a rise of 18.3pc.

Apartment construction saw the highest rise, up 60pc in the year, according to the Central Statistics Office data.

Some 1,250 apartments were built in the final three months of last year, up from 726 in the same quarter in 2018. For all of last year, the number of apartments completed rose from 2,283 in 2018 to 3,644, an increase of almost 60pc.

Most of the new apartments were bought by cuckoo funds, so-called because investors are squeezing first-time buyers out of the market.

Economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers Dermot O'Leary said there were a big number of apartments in the planning and development process.

But the building of planned apartments "would be put under threat if some of the policy proposals of Sinn Féin were to be implemented".

Irish Independent