Housing for All: Available Supports for Buyers & Renters

Housing for All is the Irish Government’s national housing plan to 2030. Its aim is to make housing more affordable and energy-efficient, while also ensuring that those who want to own their own home can do so and those who wish to rent can do so at an affordable rate. The plan provides supports to make homes warmer, healthier, and more comfortable with lower energy bills.

Affordable housing is provided in two ways: affordable homes to purchase and affordable rental housing provided through the Cost Rental model. Here are the available supports:

Help to Buy Scheme

The Help to Buy (HTB) scheme is an incentive for first-time buyers to help with their deposit for purchasing or self-building a new home. Those availing of the scheme must purchase or self-build the property to live in as their home. Those who meet the required conditions will receive a refund of Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) paid in Ireland. The maximum payment is €30,000 under the enhanced relief.

Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme

The Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme makes local authority-provided homes available at a reduced price for first-time buyers and Fresh Start applicants whose combined mortgage and deposit will not cover the market price of the newly built home. Through the scheme, a local authority takes a percentage equity stake (share of ownership) in the home equal to the difference between the open market value of the property and the reduced price paid by the purchaser.

First Home Scheme

The First Home Scheme aims to support eligible first-time buyers and Fresh Start applicants by bridging the gap between their deposit and mortgage and the private market price of the new home (subject to regional price ceilings). This scheme is open for applications.

Local Authority Home Loan Scheme

The Local Authority Home Loan is a government-backed mortgage for first-time buyers or ‘Fresh Start’ applicants. It is available nationwide from all local authorities for those on modest or low incomes who cannot get sufficient funding from regulated financial providers to purchase or build a home. Eligible first-time buyers can apply for a Local Authority Home Loan to purchase a new or second-hand property, or to build their own home.

Cost Rental

Cost rental is a new form of long-term, sustainable home rental targeted at middle-income households with incomes above the social housing limits. Under the Cost Rental model, homes are provided with rents that are set to cover only the cost of financing, building, managing, and maintaining the homes. In general, rents will be targeted at 25% below private market rents in the area.

Mortgage to Rent Scheme

The Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme offers households in acute, unsustainable mortgage arrears situations, with little or no prospect of a significant change in circumstances, the chance to surrender a property to a lender and in turn become a social housing tenant while staying in their own home and community. Under the scheme, you voluntarily surrender ownership of your home to your mortgage lender. An Approved Housing Body or an approved private company can then buy your home. You no longer own your home or have any financial interest in it. However, you can continue to live there as a tenant of the local authority or approved housing body. You pay an affordable rent, which is based on your income.

Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant

The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant provides support for the refurbishment of vacant properties in towns and villages. The grant is available to individuals or households for the refurbishment of a property that will be their principal private residence. A grant of up to a maximum of €30,000 is available for the refurbishment of a vacant property for occupation as a principal private residence, subject to appropriate planning permission being in place. A maximum of €50,000 is available for the refurbishment.

The Housing for All plan offers a range of supports and initiatives to help address Ireland’s housing crisis and make housing more affordable and sustainable. The various schemes and initiatives available can help individuals and families access affordable rental properties or purchase their own homes, whether through traditional mortgages or innovative models like cost rental or the mortgage to rent scheme.

In addition, the plan includes measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes, refurbish vacant properties, and create new, sustainable housing options. By working together and leveraging the resources and expertise of government agencies, local authorities, and other stakeholders, Housing for All has the potential to create a brighter future for everyone in Ireland.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in learning more about these housing supports or how to apply for them, your local authority is a great place to start. They can provide more information on the specific schemes and initiatives available in your area and help you navigate the application process. 

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