The impact of the new ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme on house prices will have to be very carefully monitored as part of an independent impact assessment of the scheme due to be completed by the end of September 2017, according to the Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath was speaking as the new scheme opens for applications today.

Deputy McGrath said, “During the course of the passage of the Finance Bill, we made our view clear that an independent impact assessment of the ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme should have been carried out before the scheme was introduced. History has taught us that any intervention in the property market has to be based on detailed analysis, but this has not been done in respect of this scheme.

“However, we secured a commitment from Minister Noonan that such an independent assessment would be completed by 30 September 2017 and that this would assess the impact of the scheme on house prices, the supply of new homes and the property market generally.

“This assessment will be carried out independently of the Department of Finance and we very much look forward to its completion later this year. This impact assessment will need to answer the key question as to whether the ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme is pushing up new house prices.

“It was plainly obvious to us that the key issue in the housing market is the lack of supply. For this reason, we have insisted that an analysis be done into the cost of delivering new homes in Ireland and we look forward to this being completed. We have also consistently called for the State to help repair the broken funding model for the construction industry and progress is urgently needed on this issue. In addition, the government has to ensure that local authorities deliver on their social housing programmes over the course of 2017.”