Budget 2017 for First Time Buyers – Help To Buy Scheme

One of the interesting and much anticipated aspects of the budget was whether first time buyers would be given any desperately needed help. The Government announced that first time buyers of new homes will be entitled to an income tax rebate of up to €20,000, to fund the deposit under a new so called help to buy scheme.  This equates to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price of a new home valued up to €400,000.

Key to this is the fact that this maximum figure of €20,000 can only come from your previous 4 years’ income tax. In order to have paid €5,000 per year for each of the previous 4 years you would need to have been earning a minimum of €60,000 per year for each of the four years, if you have paid less than the €20,000 income tax over the last four years the maximum rebate possible will be the amount of tax you paid – not much relief for the majority of first time buyers.

Buyers of homes costing between €400,000 and €600,000 will also be entitled to the €20,000 rebate, though the percentage of the purchase this equates to will be lower.

No relief will be given to those purchasing second hand houses.

Note – in order to qualify, applicants must take out a mortgage of at least 80% of the purchase price, or in the case of a self -build, 80% of the valuation approved by the mortgage provider. The tax rebate is supposed to be used towards the deposit. So – it now means the Central Bank rules on mortgage deposits limits can be circumvented.

This help to buy scheme will be open to people who signed contracts to purchase their first home on or after 19 July 2016. In the case of a self-build, applicants who drew down the first portion of their mortgage on or after the 19th July 2016 will also be eligible. The scheme is not available for buy-to-let properties.

Applications for the help to buy scheme are not going to be accepted until January 2017, the scheme is due to run until the end of 2019

Please get in touch to discuss the practical applications of this scheme and find out exactly how it might affect you. Here at John Gaynor & Co Solicitors, Dublin 8, we enjoy providing our clients with key information in relation to all recent developments.