First-time home buyers to get rebate
A first-time buyers grant in the form of a tax rebate will be introduced in next month's Budget, according to Housing Minister Simon Coveney.
Mr Coveney told reporters at the Fine Gael think-in that he and Finance Minister Michael Noonan are finalising plans aimed at assisting people to get onto the property ladder.
The minister said that he wants to devise a scheme that, in particular, helps those who are being locked out of the property market in cities such as Dublin and Cork.
"Any measures we take in the Budget I think need to be clear, easily understood and easy to implement.
"We need to send out a message that first-time buyers, at the moment, simply don't have sufficient numbers of houses being built for them in the right places and at the right price," he added.
But the extent of that and the means by which it is done is still being finalised at the moment," he added.
Mr Coveney said he has considered introducing a scheme similar to one operating in the UK, whereby the State would provide a grant in return for a small equity in the property.
However, he said he is instead leaning towards a grant scheme whereby applicants receive a tax rebate.
"I think it'll be something along the lines of a first-time buyers' grant, effectively through the tax system, and through a tax rebate system," Mr Coveney said.
"Mr Coveney said the scheme that will be announced next month will apply to new homes only and emphasised the need to increase supply.
"My view is that the core problem in the housing market at the moment is a total lack of supply," the minister said.
"The core issue here is that anything we do has to drive supply," he added.
The Cork TD noted the difficulty for first-time buyers as a result of the Central Bank lending rules.
"The mortgage rules are very tight for first-time buyers and it's up to the Central Bank to decide if they want to change that, it's not up for the Government," Mr Coveney said.