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Home Loan scheme expanded to first-time buyers who wish to renovate vacant or derelict properties

THE GOVERNMENT IS to extend the Local Home Authority Loan to support first-time buyers who want to purchase and renovate vacant or derelict homes.

Previously, only homes which were habitable were eligible for the Local Authority Home Loan and the loan was only available for the purchase of the property, not renovation. 

The Local Authority Home Loan was launched in January 2022 as part of Housing for All strategy, with the aim of supporting borrowers who are unable to get sufficient finance from commercial banks to buy or build a home.

To date, the number of grants applied for stands at 8,194, with 5,049 of those being approved. The number of grants actually paid out to date is just 375. 

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien today received government approval for the Local Authority Purchase and Renovation Loan (LAPR), and this expansion will cover the purchase and/or renovation of non-habitable homes that are eligible under the existing Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant. 

A spokesperson from the Department of Housing said the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant has been “incredibly popular to date”, with over 8,100 applications received under the scheme so far. 

Of the over 8,100 applications that have been made, around 5,000 have been approved.

However, only 375 have been paid to date though a Department spokesperson said this number is “expected to rise very substantially over the coming months”.  

Under the new LAPR expansion approved today, a first-time buyer who wishes to turn a vacant or derelict property into a new home can receive a loan to fund both the purchase and renovation works. 

Eligibility for the new support is subject to the applicant meeting the existing local authority mortgage lending criteria, which includes applicants being first time buyers or “Fresh Start” applicants and is subject to income limits for borrowers of €70,000 for a single and €85,000 for a joint applicant. 

Applicants must also be unable to source sufficient financing from commercial lenders to be eligible, and those who have already purchased the home which is the subject of the renovation loan application will be allowed to apply for funding to renovate the property.

In addition to this,  the maximum end-of-works market values of the property cannot exceed:

  • €360,000 in Dublin, Kildare or Wicklow,

  • €330,000 in Cork, Galway, Louth or Meath,

  • €300,000 in Clare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Waterford, Westmeath or Wexford

  • €275,000 in Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Kerry, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo or Tipperary.

The Department spokesperson added that the introduction of the LAPR “significantly expands the types and numbers of homes eligible under current local authority mortgage lending rules”.

Speaking today, O’Brien said: “The extension of local authority mortgage lending to the purchase and renovation to all homes eligible for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant will help people who are struggling to complete the purchase and renovation of a vacant or derelict property and will give them the necessary finance to make their project viable.”

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