First Home Scheme set to increase price ceilings

The First Home Scheme will be extended to thousands of additional buyers following increases in the price ceilings that apply to qualifying houses.

he scheme, which was launched in July of this year, is a €400m fund which was established to help first time buyers bridge the gap between their mortgage, deposit and the price of a new home.

The aim of the programme is to facilitate the purchase of up to 8,000 homes across Ireland over a five-year period and is a joint venture between the State and three banks, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.

The increase in the price ceilings follows the first of the scheme’s twice-yearly reviews of qualifying houses and will come into effect at the beginning of January.

The results of the review will now see the limits set out in the scheme rise by up to €75,000 in 30 of Ireland’s 31 local authority areas.

These increases in price ceilings now mean that every new house valued at €325,000 or less will be eligible for the scheme across Ireland.

The scheme will also include houses with prices of up to €475,000 in some locations, such as Cork city, Dublin city, Fingal, South Dublin, Wicklow and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. This marks a €25,000 increase in the price ceilings across these locations.

Meanwhile, the limit for houses in Cork county, Galway city and Kildare will rise to €425,000. While this is a €25,000 rise in the price ceiling for Galway city and Kildare, it reflects a €75,000 change for houses outside of Cork city.

The updates to the scheme will see more people becoming eligible if their chosen home was formerly above the price ceiling for their local authority area.

The next review of the price ceilings is due to take place in the middle of next year.

However, the price ceilings for qualifying apartments will remain unchanged going into 2023. These limits are fixed at €500,000 in Dublin and Cork city or at €450,000 in Galway city, Limerick and Waterford.

A total of 508 buyers in 23 counties had been approved and received eligibility certifications in the quarter to October 6 following the introduction of the First Home Scheme.

Two-thirds of issued eligibility certifications have been for buyers in Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. The remaining buyers were spread across 19 counties, according to the report.

The scheme also noted that a total of 1,862 potential buyers had registered their interest by the beginning of October. That included 823 individuals and over 1,000 couples.

“That momentum has continued in the run-up to Christmas and we’re on course to help a lot more people to buy a home in 2023,” said First Home Scheme chief executive Michael Broderick.

“We promised at our launch in July that we’d review the price ceilings twice a year and we’re delighted that, following our first review, we can now extend the Scheme to a whole new cohort of buyers.”

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