Cabinet ministers appear at odds on whether the Central Bank should relax lending rules for first-time buyers.
Finance Minsiter Michael Noonan urged the fiscal watchdog to review caps on how much can be borrowed by people getting on the property ladder for the first time. However, Health Minister Leo Varadkar expressed caution at such a move.
Mr Noonan said the matter needed to be urgently looked at by the Central Bank because of the lack of starter homes in Dublin.
The finance minister said the situation had changed markedly since the strict loan limits were brought-in at the beginning of the year.
However, Mr Varadkar said the country needed to avoid repeating a situation were people scrambled onto the property ladder for fear of being shut out by escalating prices: “I don’t think we will be doing people a service by going back to that.
“I think what the Central Bank and the regulators in any Government have to do is to balance on one hand, our absolute desire that young people are able to buy their own home, but at the same time to ensure those young people don’t actually lose out by having to buy houses in an escalating property market.”
Mr Noonan also said he would like to remain Finance Minister if Fine Gael lead the next Government. Speaking with RTÉ he said: “If we are back in Government and the Taoiseach wants me to serve in Cabinet, certainly finance would be the ministry that I would be interested in.”
The finance minister indicated he would not be in favour of a post-election deal with Fianna Fail: “Anybody who has been around a long time like myself kind of likes the model where a Fianna Fáil-led government is an alternative to a Fine Gael-led government and the day the two get together it takes away a kind of centre party alternatives.”
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