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, 3rd January 2017.

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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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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