Wednesday 21 August 2019

Boost for first-time buyers as help-to-buy scheme set to be extended in the Budget

Grant: Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe during the launch of Home Building Finance Ireland’s first half-year update yesterday. Photo: Collins
Grant: Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe during the launch of Home Building Finance Ireland’s first half-year update yesterday. Photo: Collins
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has given a strong signal the help-to-buy grant will be extended in the Budget.

The grant of up to €20,000 for first-time buyers is due to expire at the end of this year, but there have been strong signals from Government in recent weeks that it will be extended to help young couples seeking to get on the housing ladder.

Mr Donohoe said the grant had played "a very valuable role in supporting the purchase of homes across last year and this year in particular".

He said that while it was a budget matter he would be consulting closely with Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and they would have to "assess what the scheme is going to look like in the future".

"I don't view it as being a subsidy to developers," he said.

"I view it as being a support to those who want to be homeowners who are looking to make their first purchase.

"That's what the scheme was designed for but it was designed when our housing market was performing in a particular way.

"We have to assess what that scheme is going to look like in the future and make decisions in relation to it, like I'll have to make in relation to every other taxation measure in advance of Budget 2020."

Mr Murphy is understood to be seeking the extension of the grant in talks with Mr Donohoe, while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has also hinted at an extension.

He told the Dáil earlier this month that the grant "will help many more people in the future".

It has so far benefited around 12,100 people at a cost of €171m to the Exchequer.

The average grant for each home is just under €15,000.

Irish Independent

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