First Home Scheme
What exactly is the First Home Scheme?
The First Home scheme is part of the Government’s Housing For All strategy. It is primarily designed to help first-time buyers bridge the gap between what they’re allowed borrow under the Central Bank’s mortgage lending rules and what they need to borrow in order to buy a home.
It is a shared equity scheme in which the Government takes a stake or ‘share’ in your home in return for providing you with up to 30% of the property price. It is available for newly built houses or apartments in a private development in the Republic of Ireland.
The scheme is expected to cover the purchase of 8,000 new homes over the next four years. As of November 2022, over 500 first-time buyer applicants have been approved of the scheme since its launch.
How It Works in Practice?
Salary – €70,000
Property purchase price – €350,000
Mortgage available from Participating Lender (up to 4x salary) – €280,000
Deposit (10% of purchase price) – €35,000
Shortfall – €35,000
OUTCOME: The First Home Scheme could help you meet the shortfall by taking a 10% share in your property.
The First Home Scheme can fund up to 20% of the purchase price of your new property if the Help to Buy Scheme (HTB) is being used, or 30% if the Help to Buy is not being used. You can buy out all or part of the equity share at any time.
To be eligible for the First Home Scheme you must be:
⦿ Over 18 years of age
⦿ A first-time buyer
⦿ Have a Mortgage Approval with a Participating Lender
⦿ Borrow the maximum mortgage amount available to you from one of the Participating Lenders (up to 4x your income)
⦿ Not be availing of a Macro Prudential Exception (MPE) with a Participating Lender
⦿ Have a minimum deposit of 10% of the property purchase price
Does the Government Charge an Interest or a Fee?
No charges or fees will apply for the first five years.
However an ‘annual service charge’ will apply from year six onwards to cover the maintenance of the scheme.
It’s important to remember that this charge is on top of the amount you owe the Government. The money you pay will not reduce the Government’s stake in your home, which will still be repayable at some stage e.g. sale, death.
The service charge is based on the original amount the Government gave you, less any repayments you may have made. If the value of your home rises, your service charge won’t increase.
How Do I Repay the Government’s Stake?
You can repay the Government’s stake or equity at any time. You can do so in one go or make partial repayments.
However you’re under no obligation to do so and can theoretically live in your home for the rest of your life without paying back the Government’s stake.
If you choose to repay part of the equity the Government stumped up, the partial repayment must be at least 5% of the original amount provided. A maximum of two redemption payments can be made over a one-year period.
When making a repayment you will also need to outline where the funds came from e.g. savings, gift, etc.
Importantly, because the equity share is linked to the market value of your property, all redemptions will need an up-to-date property valuation, except within the first six months. Approved valuations will remain valid for 12 months.
If you’re paying back the equity share in full, any unpaid service charges must also be paid in full.
Is There an Income Limit?
No income limit applies to those looking to avail of the scheme.
Whether you earn €50,000 a year or €500,000 a year, you can theoretically apply.
However there are limits on the price of the property you can buy which will vary by each local authority area.
This is likely to be €450,000 for homes in Dublin and €250,000 to €300,000 elsewhere.
Also, as mentioned above, you have to apply for the maximum amount possible with your existing lender. This, coupled with the limit on the price of the home you can buy, means in most cases those on incomes over around €70,000 in rural areas and over around €100,000 in more urban areas won’t qualify as your income will be enough to get a sufficient mortgage.
Get In Touch to Learn More
Would you like to talk to someone you can trust, who will give you the best options based on your circumstances? If so, contact MC Financial today on 01-8228022, email@example.com or call MC Financial anytime on 0879321882
Click here to download our First Home Scheme Brochure
Warning: If you do not keep up your repayments, you may lose your home. Warning: You may have to pay charges if you pay off a fixed-rate loan early.
Get In Touch
Would you like to talk to someone you can trust, who will give you the best options based on your circumstances? If so, contact MC Financial today on 01-8228022, firstname.lastname@example.org or call us anytime on 087 9321882