Fianna Fáil wants review of help-to-buy scheme in 12 months

Fianna Fáil wants review of help-to-buy scheme in 12 months

Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has warned his party will not "stand by and do nothing" if last week's mortgage rule changes lead to a fresh house prices surge, Fiachra Ó Cionnaith of the Irish Examiner writes.

Under Central Bank changes announced last week, first-time buyers looking for a new home will now have to save just 10% of the price of the house in order to obtain a deposit.

While the move has been welcomed by those struggling to meet previous Central Bank rules, it has led to concerns that it could result in a fresh house price surge.

This is because of the dual impact of the rule change and the Government's recently announced help-to-buy scheme, which will provide a tax rebate of up to €20,000 on the first €400,000 of a new build purchase.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan last week confirmed the Fine Gael-led Government will review the effectiveness of the help-to-buy scheme in 2019 in order to ensure it is not unexpectedly damaging the market.

However, speaking to reporters outside Leinster House this morning, Fianna Fáil's finance spokesperson said his party wants to have a review within 12 months so that any problems can be addressed quickly.

Michael McGrath said: "The [Budget 2017 linked] Finance Bill commits to allowing the scheme to stay in place up to the end of 2019.

"We are strongly of the view that there should have been an impact review done first [on the help-to-buy scheme], that wasn't done.

"The fact is the help-to-buy scheme and easing of the mortgage rules will cause new house properties to increase in price significantly and we got a commitment in the Finance Bill that there will be a review next September.

"If presented with evidence, then we can't be expected to stand by and do nothing," he said.

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