Call for State loans to replace Help-to-Buy scheme

There are calls for changes to be made to the Government's Help-to-Buy scheme.

Currently the €20,000 grant is available to first time buyers on new builds - but critics say it has actually pushed up prices and failed to address the supply shortage.

There are indications that the Housing Minister could scrap the scheme.

However, chief executive of the Housing Agency, John O'Connor thinks it should become a long-term loan, rather than a grant.

"You'd repay it, one, if you sold the house in the future, or secondly if you decided you wanted to own the home without any additional debt on it, you would pay it off," he said.

Fianna Fáil's Housing Spokesperson Barry Cowen also said that the scheme needs to change.

"It has, apparently, based on the statistics which have become available since its introduction, failed quite miserably, unfortunately," he said.

"Especially because of it being introduced in isolation and not together with some supply indicatives to create more choice for the purchasers, which would in itself would allow prices to come down.

"I'm thinking primarily there of ways and means by which you reduce the cost of construction."

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