#Budget2020: Two year extension for help to buy scheme headlines housing measures

#Budget2020: Two year extension for help to buy scheme headlines housing measures

The Government's help to buy scheme will be extended "in its current form" for another two years in a bid to provide "certainty" to people struggling to afford to buy homes across the country.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe revealed the decision in his Budget 2020 speech to the Dáil this afternoon, saying "I am extending the scheme in its current form for two years until 2021".

    Budget 2020 at a glance - housing:
  • Homelessness budget up €20m to €166m
  • 11,000 new social homes in 2020 and 12,000 in 2021
  • €80m for HAP
  • €2m to ensure rent pressure zones are adhered to
  • Help to buy scheme extended until Dec 2021
  • commercial stamp duty up 1.5% tonight

In his comments on the housing sector, Mr Donohoe said he is increasing the homelessness budget by €20m, housing assistance payment by €80m and committed to building 11,000 new social houses next year and 12,000 in 2021.

In addition, he said commercial stamp duty will increase by 1.5% on Tuesday night in a bid to force developers to build more residential homes, and that €2m will be pumped into rent pressure zone policy policing.

However, the decision to extend the help to buy scheme for another two years instead of drastically changing its parameters or allowing it to be scrapped in December is likely to prove among the most popular of the budget plans.

#Budget2020: Two year extension for help to buy scheme headlines housing measures

During the Fine Gael presidential dinner in Dublin on Saturday night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had suggested the scheme may be tweaked as people who could "well afford" a mortgage by themselves were benefiting.

The scheme was introduced after intense talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil during the first confidence and supply budget in 2016, and allows a person to receive up to €20-30,000 towards a house price up to €500,000.

The scheme was due to run out this December, with suggestions that if it was to be extended the €500,000 cap would be brought down to close to €300,000.

However, after Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and others were believed to have raised concerns over the reduction, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed on Tuesday it will continue "in its current form" until the end of 2021.

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