First Home Scheme to be extended to self-builders who are building their first home

Published on: 21 September 2023

  • Government-backed shared equity scheme will provide up to 30% of the total build cost, which can be added to a self-builder’s mortgage and deposit 
  • Applications from self-build customers will be accepted from Wednesday at 
  • First Home Scheme approved 2,000 First-Time Buyers in its first year with this figure set to be exceeded in Year 2 
  • Scheme extension announced by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD at the Ploughing Championships on Tuesday 


Tuesday 19th September 


The First Home Scheme, a €400m fund set up to help First-Time Buyers to bridge the gap between their mortgage, deposit and the price of a new home as part of the Government’s Housing for All strategy, is to be extended to include self-builders who are building their first home.  

The Scheme is already open to people buying newly-built houses and apartments in private developments, and to renters whose landlord is seeking to sell the property they are renting.  

Today’s extension will mean that self-build customers can benefit from financial support of up to 30% of the total build cost of their home, to add to their self-build mortgage and deposit.  

Applications from self-build customers can be made from Wednesday online at  

The First Home Scheme application process runs in parallel with the mortgage application process (i.e. self-build mortgage applications should continue to be made separately through participating lenders).  

The Scheme is available to qualifying homebuyers and self-build customers who are taking out mortgages from AIB (including its EBS and Haven Mortgages businesses), Bank of Ireland or Permanent TSB.  

In the Scheme’s first year since its launch in July 2022, close to 2,000 buyers in 24 counties were approved for the Scheme and almost 500 homes in 20 counties were bought using the Scheme. The Scheme’s next quarterly progress update, for the 3 months to the end of September, will be published in the coming weeks.  

Eligibility for the Scheme was extended to thousands of additional First-Time Buyers with effect from January 1st, following the widening of eligibility criteria for homes in 30 of Ireland’s 31 local authority areas, with the limit for eligible homes increasing by up to €75,000.  

Houses with prices of up to €475,000 and apartments with prices of up to €500,000 are currently eligible for the Scheme, depending on their location.  

Approximately 80% of live approvals have been for buyers in Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow, with the remaining approximately 20% spread across 19 counties throughout Ireland.  

With today’s announcement, the scheme will be opened to those who are building their own home and is expected to help people in regional locations, where many individuals decide to build their first home rather than purchase a new build. 


Speaking at the announcement of the extension at the Ploughing Championships on Tuesday, The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said:  

“I’m delighted that First-Time Buyers who are building their own home are now in a position to benefit from this scheme. 

It’s already been very successful for people buying new houses and apartments in developments and now it’s going to help a new range of people starting out on their home ownership journey.  

This is a particularly important development for people who live in more rural locations or come from a farming background and who have a site, but not the full level of finance they need to build their new home.  

We designed this scheme to be flexible and to evolve so that it can help as many people as possible. We previously extended it to help renters looking to buy their home from their landlord and now it’s the turn of self-builders.”    



The First Home Chief Executive, Michael Broderick, said:  

“The Scheme is making excellent progress and we’re helping First-Time Buyers throughout Ireland to bridge the affordability gap. Following today’s announcement we are now in a position to assist those who have decided to build their first home. 

Our pipeline is getting bigger every month and extending the Scheme to self-build customers means we can help even more people.  

We’re encouraging every First-Time Buyer and Self-builder to consider using the scheme and the benefits it can bring to them – we have the capacity and the appetite to continue to grow strongly.” 






How the First Home Scheme works for Self-builds 

The scheme provides financial support to borrowers and facilitates them in building their new home that they could not otherwise do after combining their available mortgage and deposit. 

By bridging the gap between the available mortgage, deposit and the build cost of the new home, the scheme will make the prospect of home ownership possible for many for the first time. 

The scheme is making €400 million available, to facilitate the purchase of up to 8,000 homes over a 5-year period, subject to demand.  



First-Time Buyer income 


Maximum borrowing  

(4x income) 


Property build cost 


Deposit – min 10% (equity in the site can contribute to the deposit) 


Maximum that First-Time Buyers can pay without support 


(€200,000 plus €28,000) 

Affordability gap 


(€280,000 minus €228,000) 


First Home Scheme can provide €52,000 in return for a 19%* equity stake in the property. 

*If availing of the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, the maximum equity percentage available to a customer is 20% of the build cost, otherwise it is 30%  


Conditions relating to self-build homes 

A self-build home is one that is built on a site by the owner(s) of the site, either through direct labour (self-managed) or a fixed contractor (construction contract). The home must be used as the principal private residence of the owner(s). 

The house can be detached or semi-detached and can be single-storey or have multiple floors (subject to planning permission).  

Price (build cost) ceilings will apply across each Local Authority area and will be reviewed twice annually as with the current price ceilings for new builds.   

Among the conditions that self-build homes must fulfil are requirements to provide a Certified Build Cost and a Certified Valuation. 

Self-build customers will have 12 months from the date of signing the First Home Scheme Customer Contract to draw down the First Home Scheme Equity Facility (subject to meeting all conditions). They will have a further 24 months from the date of drawdown to complete the build of their new home.  


Current eligibility criteria  

€475,000 ceiling for houses (new-build and self-build) 

Local authority area 

Cork City 

Dublin City 

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown 


South Dublin 



€425,000 ceiling for houses (new-build and self-build) 

Local authority area 

Cork County 

Galway City 




€375,000 ceiling for houses (new-build and self-build) 

Local authority area 

Galway County 



Limerick City & County 



€350,000 ceiling for houses (new-build and self-build) 

Local authority area 


Waterford City and County 


€325,000 ceiling for houses (new-build and self-build) 

Local authority area 

















Apartment ceilings  

Local authority area 


Cork City 


Dublin City 


Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown 




South Dublin 


Galway City 


Limerick City and County 


Waterford City and County 



Apartment ceilings in other local authority areas are the same as the ceiling for houses in that area 


Additional terms and conditions 

Some additional terms and conditions apply. Details are available from the First Home Scheme website