Dáil Éireann - Volume 605 - 28 June, 2005

Written Answers - Local Authority Housing.

  835. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the action he proposes to take to address the twin problems of the housing crisis in the failure of the local authority housing programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22781/05]

  Mr. N. Ahern:I refer to the reply to Question No. 27 of today’s date.

  836. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the failure to provide a properly constituted local authority loan system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22782/05]

  Mr. N. Ahern:My Department’s local authorities loan system has helped significant numbers of low-income households to purchase their own homes under a range of targeted schemes including the shared ownership and 1999 affordable housing schemes. In July of last year I carried out a review of the loan and income limits which resulted in an increase in the maximum loan available for the acquisition or construction of a house to €165,000.

The income eligibility limit for applying for a house purchase loan was increased to €36,800 for a single-income household. In the case of a two-[1028] income household, both incomes are assessed in determining eligibility on the basis of a formula whereby two and a half times the main income and once the second income cannot exceed €92,000. My Department will continue to keep the terms and conditions of this scheme under review.

In addition, my Department is involved in extensive discussions with a number of leading private lending institutions with a view to their providing mortgage finance, subject to their normal lending criteria, to applicants who have been allocated an affordable housing unit for purchase under Part V of the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2004 or the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002. To date, agreement has been reached with Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank. Discussions are ongoing with a number of other lenders and I anticipate that these will be successfully concluded in the near future.