Mortgage Loan Scheme Needs To Be 'Revamped' - FF

A loan scheme designed for first time buyers needs to be "revamped", Fianna Fáil spokesperson on finance Michael McGrath has said.

Deputy McGrath made the call after figures revealed that not a single loan has been issued under the scheme so far in 2015.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil show there were just two loans facilitated under the Home Choice Loan Scheme last year and none so far this year.

"The Home Choice Loan is a mortgage scheme, in place since 2009, for first time buyers who can’t get mortgage approval from a bank or building society. The scheme is administered by a number of local authorities – Dublin City Council, Cork City Council, Galway County Council and Kilkenny County Council. Under the scheme, loans may be available to anyone earning over €35,000 as a single applicant or over €45,000 for a joint application and loans can run up to 92% of the price of the property," Deputy McGrath said.

"It is ironic that a scheme like the Home Choice Loan Scheme is needed now more than ever and yet it is simply not working. At a time when the new Central Bank rules are really putting a squeeze on first time buyers, a State-run first time buyer loan scheme for people on modest incomes should be thriving. The reality is that there is no awareness of this scheme and no effort has been made by the government to promote it.

"This scheme has a competitive interest rate and loans of up to €285,000 can be given out. The fact that not a single loan has been given out under the scheme in 2015 shows how little interest the government has in supporting first time buyers in the market. An urgent review needs to be undertaken into why the scheme has been such a failure. It should be revamped and an effort made to promote it because there is undoubtedly a demand for a State-backed first time buyer loan scheme like this at the present time."

To qualify for a Home Choice Loan applicants must:

• Be a first-time buyer (some exceptions may apply, for example, if you are divorced)

• Earn more than €35,000 as a single applicant or over €45,000 combined income as joint applicants

• Be in continuous employment for at least 2 years (if self-employed you must be able to submit 2 years' certified accounts)

• Have proof of being unsuccessful in securing a sufficient mortgage from 2 banks or building societies to buy a home

• Be aged between 18 and 70


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