First Home Equity Share Scheme

First Home Scheme

What is the First Home Scheme? Who is eligible for it? How do you qualify? How much can you claim?

These are just some of the questions that we have been asked by first time buyers, so we decided to put together this blog to answer all your questions.

If you are a first-time buyer and are thinking about availing of the First Home Scheme when purchasing your new home, then read on for our guide on the new scheme. The great news is that the Help to Buy scheme can be used in conjunction with the First Home Scheme.

First Up – What is the First Home scheme?

The First Home Scheme (the FHS) is a shared equity scheme, sponsored by the Government of Ireland and Participating Lenders. It aims to bridge the gap for first-time buyers and eligible homebuyers between their deposit and mortgage, and the price of a new home within property price ceilings set up across the Republic of Ireland, by local authority area. The Scheme provides homebuyers with what is known as an equity facility. This means that homebuyers will enter into a contract with the FHS and receive funds from the Scheme in return for the FHS taking a percentage ownership in the property purchased. The percentage ownership that the FHS
holds in your home is known as an equity share.

What does a percentage ownership mean?

This means that eligible homebuyers will receive funds from the FHS in return for the FHS taking an equity share in the ownership of their property.
For example:
Property purchase price = €450,000
Equity share provided by FHS = €45,000 (10% of the property purchase price)
Therefore, FHS will own a 10% equity share in your property, even if the value of the property increases or decreases over time. When you redeem (buy back) the equity share in full, you will own your property outright (100%).

How long will the FHS be available for?

It is expected the FHS will be available to new homebuyers until 2025. This timeframe may be extended depending on the number of Participating Lenders and the number of applications received.

What are the FHS rules and criteria?

To be eligible for the FHS you must:
• be over 18 years of age
• be a first-time buyer or an eligible homebuyer
• have a Mortgage Approval from a Participating Lender
• borrow the maximum mortgage amount available to you from a Participating Lender (up to 3.5 x your income)
• You cannot avail of a Macro Prudential Exception (MPE) from your Participating Lender i.e., borrow more than 3.5 x your income
• agree to a minimum equity share of 2.5% of the property purchase price, or €10,000, whichever is higher
• have a minimum deposit of 10% of the property purchase price if you are a first-time buyer, or 20% if you are an eligible homebuyer
• purchase a property intended as your Principal Private Residence
• purchase a newly built house or apartment in a private development in the Republic of Ireland
• purchase a property within the property price ceilings based on local authority area

You may also be an eligible homebuyer if you have previously purchased or built a property in the Republic of Ireland:
• with a spouse, civil partner, or partner, and that relationship has ended. You must not retain a beneficial interest in the previous property, or
• you have sold (or divested of) that property as part of a personal insolvency or bankruptcy arrangement, or other legal process as a consequence of insolvency

See Eligibility Calculator here 

Is there a minimum funding amount under the FHS?
The minimum equity share under the FHS is 2.5% of the property purchase price, or €10,000, whichever is higher.
For example:
Property purchase price – €450,000
Minimum funding amount of 2.5% – €11,250.

I am availing of the Help to Buy Scheme. Will this impact my eligibility for the FHS?
The Help to Buy Scheme (HTB) is a Government of Ireland incentive that helps eligible first-time buyers with the deposit required to purchase a new house or apartment for €500,000 or less. Eligibility for HTB is assessed by the HTB and is separate from the FHS. If you are availing of the HTB, the maximum amount you may be eligible for from the FHS will be 20% of the property value.
For example:
Property purchase price – €450,000
Maximum funding of 20% available from the FHS if availing of HTB – €90,000.

What is the maximum funding I can avail of under the FHS if I am not availing of HTB?
The maximum equity share available under the FHS is 30% of the property purchase price if not availing of HTB.
For example:
Property purchase price – €450,000
Maximum funding of 30% available from the FHS if not
availing of HTB – €135,000.

To find out more or to apply for the scheme, click here 

Download a full FAQ’s document here

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