Help-to-Buy scheme opens for applications today

The new Help-to-Buy scheme for first-time buyers, announced in the Budget last October, opens for applications today.

Who can avail of the scheme?

First time buyers and first time self-builders can avail of the scheme. If one applicant is FTB and the other not, you cannot avail of the scheme.

Also, the first-time buyer must not have either individually or jointly with any other person (directly or indirectly), previously purchased, built or inherited a property.

You must occupy the house as your home for at least five years from the date the property is habitable. You must also complete the build within two years of being awarded the rebate.

You must also be taking out a minimum 70% mortgage and have drawn down your first instalment no earlier than 19th July 2016 (the scheme is being backdated subject to Oireachtas approval).

In the case of a self-build, this means you must have taken out a mortgage equivalent to “70% of the valuation approved by the mortgage provider”.

The 19th of July coincides with the launch of the government’s “Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness”.

Another important criteria is that you must have been “fully tax compliant in respect of the four years immediately prior to the claim.”

What qualifies as a ‘new build’ in a self-build scenario? Does someone building a new house appended to an existing cottage qualify?

According to the Department of Finance press office, a new build is a property that has not been occupied before – extending a cottage would not qualify.

In the wording of the Finance Bill:

‘self-build qualifying residence’ means a qualifying residence which is built, directly or indirectly, by a first-time purchaser on his or her own behalf;
‘qualifying residence’ means a new building which was not previously used, or suitable for use, as a dwelling, and [other requirements as listed above].

For more information visit


This article is for reference only, always consult with a qualified professional when dealing with legal, fiscal and building related matters.

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About Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email

2 thoughts on “Help-to-Buy scheme opens for applications today

  1. Liam Mc Donagh

    Would anyone be able to tell me this, I’ve been back in Ireland nearly two years and was working in Australia before that. Does that mean I will only be able to avail of 50% of the rebate as it is refunded through tax refund

    • Calum Lennon

      This will depend on your particular circumstances and how much tax you have paid over those two years; do contact your local Revenue office to discuss your case.


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