HOUSING

Council drawdown €10 million in new home loan funding

The allocation was widely welcomed but one councillor remarked "its all risk and no reward"

Barry Landy

Reporter:

Barry Landy

Email:

barry.landy@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Council drawdown €10 million in new home loan funding

Louth County Council's Millennium Hall

Louth County Council will draw from a pot of €10 million to provide housing funds for first time buyers in the county this year.

The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government recently advised the local authority that they were to receive a €10,000,000 allocation for 2018 – and at the May monthly meeting held in Dundalk last year, councillors agreed to drawdown the maximum money available.

The cash will allow the council to provide loans for house purchases and builds this year. However, while the money is coming from central government, Director of Housing Services Joe McGuinness confirmed at the meeting that any subsequent default on the loan will hit the council in the pocket.

Meanwhile, McGuinness also confirmed that interest on the loans does not accrue to the council but the Government. Rates on offer range between 2% and 2.3%.

“It’s all risk and no reward for Louth County Council,” Green Party councillor Mark Dearey said.

“Banks continue to gorge on mortgages with rates that are twice that is on offer here.”

39 valid applications have been received by the council for Rebuilding Ireland home loans since the new initiative came into effect at the start of February. Of these, four have been approved and two rejected – with 32 currently being processed.

The scheme is open to first time buyers only.

Applicants must be in continuous employment for two years, have received insufficient offers of finance from at least two financial institutions and combined gross income must not exceed €75,000.

The figure of €10 million was welcomed by councillors last week.

Maeve Yore called the sum “fantastic”, while Marianne Butler said, “The sum of €10 million has to be welcomed. Years ago, Dundalk Town Council received €1 million so it is a huge jump.”

Sinn Fein’s Ruairi O Murchu said, “There is obviously still going to be a problem in terms of lack of supply, but it is to be welcomed.”

Meanwhile, members of the European Parliament are to be invited to Dundalk to answer questions on Brexit. The invitation was proposed at last Monday’s Louth County Council meeting by O Murchu and was supported by his fellow councillors.