Dáil Éireann - Volume 599 - 24 March, 2005

Written Answers. - Housing Grants.

  198. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for the [2135] Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will raise the shared ownership loan upper limit for Dublin-based applicants, in view of the higher cost of homes in the Dublin region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9939/05]

  Mr. N. Ahern: The shared ownership scheme offers home ownership in a number of steps to purchasers who cannot afford full ownership in the traditional way. Initially, ownership is shared between the purchaser who buys at least 40% of the value of the house and the local authority from whom the purchaser rents the remaining share.

In July of this year I increased the maximum loan that can be advanced for a local authority house purchase from €130,000 to €165,000 and extended the period for which local authorities [2136] may advance loans from 25 years to 30 years. At the time of the review I also announced increases in the income limits. The eligibility limits for applying for the shared ownership scheme is now €36,800 for a single income household and €92,000 for a two-income household, using the formula of two and a half times the main income and once the second income.

It is a matter for each local authority to administer house purchase loans in its area, having regard, as appropriate, to the housing needs and circumstances of the area. In determining the maximum mortgage loan in each case, local authorities should have regard to the purchasers’ ability to repay by reference to their net household income.

My Department continues to monitor the various housing schemes taking into account the movement in house prices, the effectiveness of various schemes in meeting the needs of the relevant target group and the availability of mortgage finance in the private sector.