Freedom of Information data collated by Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson Darragh O’Brien reveals that only 31% of loan applications under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme have been approved to date.

The data was received from each of the 31 local authorities across the country.

Under the scheme, applications received by the local authority are sent to the Housing Agency for a recommendation then decided upon by the local authority. Some 2105 applications have been received, 656 have been approved and only 134 drawn down.

€17m has been paid out to date.  The remainder have been declined outright or delayed.  In 260 instances, or 20%, of the applications which were adjudicated by the Housing Agency, the local authority reached a different decision or delayed from the Agency recommendation.

Commenting on the figures Deputy O’Brien said, “The Re-Building Ireland Home loan is the flagship policy of Fine Gael’s affordability plans. However this FOI data exposes the reality behind all the spin. Only one in three applicants has been successful, and only 6% have actually drawn down the money to date.

“A mere €17m has been spent under the scheme to date, compared to €2bn which has been lent by commercial providers over a similar timeframe.  That’s a drop in the ocean despite Fine Gael claims that the scheme is “a success story”.

“Furthermore there is a significant discrepancy between what the Housing Agency recommends and what the local authorities are deciding to do. This raises serious questions over the methodology used by the both the Agency and the local authorities.  The substantial refusal rates and delays being experienced only serves to prove that this scheme is clearly not the solution to the affordability crisis ordinary workers are facing.

“We have not seen an affordable home built since 2011, house prices continue to rise; and the government’s loan scheme is refusing over half of the people that are applying to it.

“Fianna Fáil has continuously called for the re-establishment of an affordable housing scheme and has published its own proposals in this regard. Unfortunately both Fine Gael and Sinn Fein voted against the Fianna Fáil plan.

“We need a complete overhaul of the government’s affordability policies to ensure that ordinary income workers can achieve the dream of home ownership. That has to start with a Housing Budget which will prioritise real investment in affordable homes.  This over-hyped home loan scheme is simply letting people down”, Deputy O’Brien concluded.