Wednesday 18 September 2019

New homes special: Your guide to this season's schemes

Coming soon: The Amberley scheme, consisting of two and three-bed duplexes and four-bed houses, will launch in Blackrock later this month
Coming soon: The Amberley scheme, consisting of two and three-bed duplexes and four-bed houses, will launch in Blackrock later this month

Gabrielle Monaghan

While there are plenty of new phases of developments earmarked for the autumn season in Dublin, figures collated by the Irish Independent indicate brand new launches will mostly be confined to Dublin's commuter belt and Cork suburbs for the remainder of 2019.

More than 9,000 homes were completed in the first half of 2019, an increase of almost 17pc on the same period last year, according to a Central Statistics Office report on dwelling completions that was published last month. Almost four-fifths of those new homes were in developments, with the Dublin area and the "Mid-East" accounting for about half.

Ken MacDonald, from Hooke & MacDonald, expects the number of new homes built in the second half of 2019 to match those in the first six months of the year. The agency has about 24 launches in its pipeline between now and the end of the year.

"These are a mixture of brand new developments and new phases," MacDonald says. "Whole new sections of schemes can - in effect - be like entirely new developments, and might have a totally different product on the same site, like duplexes and apartments instead of houses."

However, the health of this autumn's new homes market hinges on the October Budget. There are concerns amongst estate agents that even if the Government doesn't scrap the help-to-buy tax rebate scheme on newly-built properties, it may reduce the threshold on which the rebate applies from the current value of €500,000.

The Construction Industry Federation, in its pre-Budget submission this week, called for an extension of the help-to-buy scheme, citing how many housebuilders have reported that between 40pc and 80pc of homes sold to first-time buyers are on the back of the tax rebate initiative.

Even a lowering of the help-to-buy threshold to €400,000 could "decimate" the market, according to MacDonald.

"It would rule out a whole cohort of buyers and that, in turn, would put further pressure on the rental market as those potential buyers would be trapped in rental homes," he says. "A lot of first-time buyers with growing families are in the market for a four-bedroom house in the €400,000 to €500,000 price bracket.

"It should be a quite an active new homes market for the rest of the year, but a huge amount is dependent on retaining the help-to-buy scheme in its present format.

"Anyway, it's more than self-financing for the Government, because it gets more than 30pc of the purchase price back in the form of taxes and levies and because it helps people exit the rental market."

Here is a guide to the areas that will see new developments, or new phases of existing schemes, launch before the end of the year.

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