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Minister for Housing Simon Coveney unveiled his action plan for housing on Tuesday 19th July. Many of the planned moves were delayed owing to pressure of time. The Government is preparing a scheme to assist first time-buyers, and the details will be outlined by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on budget day, next October.

The new scheme to provide first-time buyers with assistance in purchasing a home will be tied in with incentives for developers to build new houses. The scheme will be broader than originally envisaged in order to give incentives to developers to build more starter homes. What they don’t want to happen is to have increased capacity for first-time buyers to spend more without actually having a corresponding increase in supply.

The plan intends to increase the number of homes built per year to 25,000 by 2021. It also aims to provide 47,000 social housing units in the same period, with funding for social housing increased to €5.35 billion from a previously announced €3.7 billion.

The Minister also confirmed that any measure for first-time buyers and developers would be backdated to July 19th to ensure there was no adverse effect on the market.

Figures involved in preparing the action plan said the value of any package for first-time buyers must be about €10,000 per couple to have a noticeable impact and also to match the Fíanna Fáil manifesto which  contains proposals for a mortgage deposit top-up scheme for first-time buyers worth €10,000 per couple, or €5,000 for an individual.  The Fianna Fáil proposal, however, is for a top-up to mortgage deposits. It is understood the scheme being worked on by the Government is a combination of assisting first-time buyers with tax rebates and helping with top-ups to cover a mortgage deposit. Mr Coveney said his plan aimed to bring “normality” to Ireland’s deeply dysfunctional housing sector.

It comes as the latest homeless figures, published by the Department of Housing this week, showed there were 6,358 people in emergency accommodation during the week of June 20th to 26th.

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