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Buying your first home? Here's what you need to know about the government's new shared equity scheme

The First Home Scheme helps first-time buyers with up to 30% of the cost of their new home.

EARLIER THIS WEEK, the government’s new €400m scheme to help first-time buyers purchase new-build homes opened for applications

The First Home Scheme is part of the Housing for All plan, which details the government’s housing policy until 2030. It is planned that the scheme will assist the purchase of up to 8,000 homes in the period to 2026. 

So, what does this new scheme mean, and how does it work? We’ve rounded up the key points below… 

What is the First Home Scheme?

The First Home Scheme (FHS) aims to “bridge the gap” for first-time buyers and other eligible buyers between their deposit and mortgage, and the price of their new home. It is funded by the Government of Ireland and participating lenders.

Current participating lenders in the scheme include AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB, EBS and Haven Mortgages. 

The FHS is a shared equity scheme, which means that the state and participating banks will pay up to 30% of the market value of the new home in return for the FHS taking a percentage ownership in the property purchased.

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If you avail of the Help to Buy scheme, the FHS can provide funds up to 20% of the value of the property. 

The minimum equity share is 2.5% of the property purchase price, or €10,000, whichever is higher. For example, if you avail of the minimum equity share, this means the FHS will own a 2.5% equity share in your property. Buyers have the option to buy back the stake at any time, but it is not a requirement. 

What about fees and charges? 

There is no charge for the first five years under the FHS, meaning the first service charge rate begins at the start of year six. The service charge rates are fixed for the life of the equity facility, and begin at 1.75% for years 6-15. 

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Am I eligible?

There are a number of boxes applicants have to tick to be eligible for the scheme. These include being a first-time buyer or other eligible homebuyer, and borrowing the maximum mortgage amount available to you from a participating lender.

Eligible applicants must have a minimum deposit of 10% of the property purchase price, as well as a Mortgage Approval in Principle. The property must be a new-build house or apartment in a private development. 

You can check your status and find out how much funding you may qualify for by using the eligibility calculator here. The full eligibility requirements are listed here.

How can I apply? 

Once you have a Mortgage Approval in Principle from a participating lender and have checked you are eligible for the scheme, you can apply for the FHS online.

At Glenveagh Homes, we understand that buying a home is possibly the biggest decision you will ever make in your life – but we want to make it your easiest. Click here to find out more about Glenveagh developments.  

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