Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the rate of approval for the Government backed low interest mortgage must improve to have any meaningful impact on the high rate of demand from first-time buyers.

Information received by the Deputy through Parliamentary Question reveals that only one in three low interest mortgages have been granted to first time buyers nationwide under the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland housing strategy.

Since the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan came on stream, 54% of the applications examined have been refused by the Housing Agency and a further 181 applications are yet to be assessed.

O’Brien said, “The Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme is a flagship policy of Fine Gael’s efforts to secure affordable homes and have even proclaimed it to be ‘a success story.’

“That’s pretty hard to fathom given that only 220 applicants have benefitted from it; a drop in the ocean against a rising tide of house prices. The reality is that this scheme is not helping affordability.

“The capping of house prices in cities such as Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow at €320,000 and €250,000elsewhere in the country is an ill-considered move.

“Anyone who is observing current market trends can tell you that the likelihood of finding a home within these limits is near impossible. Even the homes for sale that could narrowly fit within these parameters are choosing to raise the price from €250,000 to 290,000 or €320,000 to €350,000.

“While house prices heighten, the Housing Agency is refusing majority of those applying for the Government backed loan scheme.

“There must be a fundamental re-assessment of the Government’s policies on home affordability to ensure that ordinary income earners can ever fulfil the prospect of owning their own home.

“That has to start with a establishing a comprehensive Affordable Home Scheme across the country.”