Over €1 bilion has been spent on home improvements in conjunction with a government home renovation incentive.
However, 70% of the spend was concentrated in just three counties — Dublin, Cork, and Kildare.
According to Revenue, homeowners and landlords have claimed €71.85 million in tax credits since 2013 for carrying out household renovations under the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme.
But the Hardware Association Ireland (HAI) claimed more than 50% of home- owners were not aware of the scheme.
It described low levels of participation in rural areas as “discouraging”.
With the incentive due to come to an end in December, the HAI is calling on the Government to extend the scheme by 24 months and improve its promotion of it.
“While it’s hugely encouraging to see Irish home- owners using the scheme to improve their properties, it’s discouraging to learn how little of this benefit is reaching more rural parts of Ireland,” says HAI chief executive Annemarie Harte.
Renovations were made to 20,791 properties registered with the HRI scheme in Dublin, worth almost €506m.
In contrast, just 163 properties registered with the scheme in Longford, the county with the lowest participation.
Ms Harte said Revenue really needs to reach out to rural areas as “people are going ahead with work, without knowing about the scheme”.
HAI said the scheme is a win-win for the Government as it comes at no cost and boosts building trade.
Close to 8,400 contractors were put to work under the scheme on over 45,000 properties, according to Revenue.
The most popular works carried out were window replacements, kitchen renovations, general repairs and home extensions.
Under the scheme, homeowners replaced some 15,164 windows, fitted 12,325 kitchens, made improvements to 8,601 homes and extended 6,189 houses.
According to the HAI, homeowners are twice as likely to carry out renovations once they are aware of the scheme.
An exact figure is not available for the value of a 24-month extension, but Ms Harte says the association estimates one-in-ten homeowners want to carry out renovations at an estimated cost of €6,500 per job.
Yesterday, Revenue advised the scheme had been extended twice previously, in 2014 and 2015.
In a statement, Revenue said: “The aim of extending the incentive to rental properties was to increase and improve the housing supply at a time when there was strong demand for housing and insufficient supply in certain areas.
“When it was introduced, the scheme was widely advertised in national and regional newspapers and on the Revenue website.
“In addition to the advertising undertaken, Revenue participated in a number of customer outreach events.”
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