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First Home Scheme ceiling rises to €375,000

New maximum ceiling rises by €25,000 meaning more new build homes are now eligible under the scheme

Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has welcomed the increased maximum sales price ceiling for the First Home Scheme. This change means that any new build house in Waterford that is below the new maximum sales price ceiling of €375,000 is now eligible for the First Homes Scheme.

The First Home Scheme is a government backed shared equity scheme aimed at bridging the gap between the maximum mortgage a purchaser can attain through a participating lending institution and the cost of a new home. This equity stake can be fully bought out at a later point when the purchaser is in a better position to do so. The minimum equity stake is 2.5% (or €10,000 whichever is higher) and the maximum equity stake is 30% if it is not being combined with the Help to Buy scheme (HTB). If it is being combined with the HTB, the maximum equity stake is 20%.

Senator Cummins said: “Allowing the maximum ceiling available in Waterford to go from €350,000 to €375,000 will mean many more homes which are currently being constructed will be able to be purchased under the scheme. Importantly, the First Home Scheme only bridges the gap between the maximum mortgage an individual or couple can get via a lending institution and the cost of a new home. You cannot choose to take lower mortgage and avail of the equity. If you can get a mortgage to the value of the home, the scheme is not for you. However if you do have a gap, then the scheme can be an essential support in getting on the property ladder”.

Senator Cummins continued: “Over 500 First Time Buyers every single week are now purchasing their first home, many with the support of government schemes such as the Help to Buy and the First Home Scheme which opposition parties are determined to abolish, which should be a wake up call to those aspiring to own their own home. The First Home Scheme and the Help to Buy scheme have assisted over 1150 purchases in Waterford alone over the last number of years. Both schemes are playing an important role in supportingthose who want to own their own home and that is why tweaks such as this are to be welcomed as they ensure more properties now fall under the remit of the First Home Scheme”.

The First Home Scheme is targeted at First Time buyers or those who qualify as a ‘Fresh Start Applicant’. A Fresh Start applicant is someone who has gone through separation, divorce or insolvency and no longer has a stake in a property. Unlike a mortgage or personal loan, there are no fees or charges applied to an applicant’s equity facility for the first five years. The FHS will apply an annual service charge to the applicant’s account from year 6-15 (1.75%); year 16-29 (2.15%); year 30+ (2.85%). Users can buy back all or part of the FHS equity share at any time, although they have no obligation to do so unless a mandatory redemption event occurs. Up to two redemptions can be made per year.

Senator Cummins concluded by saying “The First Home Scheme compliments the Local Authority Affordable Purchase scheme which has delivered developments over 120 homes at Summerfields and Deerpark. It is a fantastic scheme for those that need a helping hand in bridging the gap at this particular point in time. Those wishing to avail of the scheme should get mortgage approval in principle via a bank or broker and then apply on the First Home website -

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