Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr John Lahart
Dublin South-West

26 November 2015
Not a single loan given out in 2015 under Home Choice Loan Scheme because public unaware of it – Lahart

Fianna Fáil Candidate for Dublin South-West Cllr John Lahart is calling for the loan scheme designed for first time buyers to be revamped and properly publicised after it was revealed that not a single loan has been issued under the scheme so far in 2015.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil show there were just two loans facilitated under the Home Choice Loan Scheme last year and none so far this year.

Cllr Lahart commented: “This is bizarre as a constituent of mine tried to avail of the Scheme, he went through all the instructions on the website, took time off work to go see a broker, only to be told by the broker that he was almost sure that the Home Choice scheme doesn’t operate anymore and that he hasn’t had anybody in looking to use that service in years.

“It is not right that someone who is supposed to be facilitating the Scheme does not know that it is still in operation! The Home Choice Loan is a mortgage scheme, in place since 2009, for first time buyers who can’t get mortgage approval from a bank or building society. The scheme is administered by a number of local authorities – including Dublin City Council. Under the scheme, loans may be available to anyone earning over €35,000 as a single applicant or over €45,000 for a joint application and loans can run up to 92% of the price of the property.

“It is ironic that a scheme like the Home Choice Loan Scheme is needed now more than ever and yet it is simply not working.  It is even more worrying that when someone tries to access the service that they are told it is not available, when in fact it is.

“At a time when the new Central Bank rules are really putting a squeeze on first time buyers, a State-run first time buyer loan scheme for people on modest incomes should be thriving. The reality is that there is no awareness of this scheme and no effort has been made by the government to promote it. It is time for it to be promoted and publicised widely.

“This scheme has a competitive interest rate and loans of up to €285,000 can be given out. The fact that not a single loan has been given out under the scheme in 2015 shows how little interest the government has in supporting first time buyers in the market.

“An urgent review needs to be undertaken into why the scheme has been such a failure. It should be revamped and an effort made to promote it because there is undoubtedly a demand for a State-backed first time buyer loan scheme like this at the present time.”