Written Answers - Local Authority Housing.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 628 No. 1

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  444.  Mr. G. Murphy  Information on Gerard Murphy  Zoom on Gerard Murphy   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche   if there is a provision under the affordable sites scheme for extra funding to be made available; if one of the sites is proving extra costly to develop; and if he will elaborate on this provision. [39655/06]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  The amount of funding provided by my Department to a local authority under the low cost site scheme varies from location to location depending on factors including the acquisition and development costs of the sites. The price at which a local authority sells such sites to housing applicants is a matter to be determined by individual local authorities. The local authority may seek recoupment from my Department for the difference between the cost of the site, including any development costs, and the price paid by the applicant to the authority for the site. The level of recoupment is generally kept in line with the subsidy limits as applied under the affordable housing scheme.

  445.  Mr. Wall  Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche   if there is a capping or ceiling in the loan allowed by local authorities in the processing of shared ownership loans; if this limit varies between different authorities or if it is a national agreed figure; if so, the way the figure is determined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39695/06]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  The maximum loan a local authority may advance in respect of the share of a dwelling being purchased (minimum 40%) under the Shared Ownership Scheme is €185,000. The application of the maximum loan and minimum share criteria could facilitate the purchase of a home costing €462,500. Accordingly, certain local authorities impose a maximum house price limit for shared ownership transactions in their area where they deem it necessary. In approving a shared ownership purchase, local authorities must consider the ability of applicants to make the [449]necessary mortgage and rent payments and satisfy themselves that the borrower’s income is sufficient to meet the financial commitments involved under the scheme.

  446.  Mr. Bruton  Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche   the thresholds which will apply in 2007 under the house purchase schemes in respect of the qualifying income of one and of two earner applicants; the qualifying limit on gross household income to qualify for a subsidy toward repayment; the value of subsidy towards repayments at different income thresholds; the deposit which applicants must have; the minimum percentage to be purchased under shared ownership; the maximum loan and the maximum house price which can be reached; and the way these have changed from previous levels in the 2007 Estimates. [39696/06]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  The income limit for the shared ownership and affordable housing schemes was increased with effect from 1 January 2006. Persons whose income in the previous tax year satisfies the income test of €40,000 or under for a single income household or €100,000 or under for a two income household, using the formula 2½ the main income plus once the secondary income are eligible for the schemes.

The qualifying household income limits and the amounts of the rent/mortgage subsidy, which were also increased with effect from 1 January 2006, are set out below:

Household Income per annum €
13,000 and under
13,001 to 15,500
15,501 to 18,000
18,001 to 20,500
20,501 to 23,000
23,001 to 25,500
25,501 to 28,000
Entry at over 28,000
New Tapering
28,001 to 29,000

A household entering the affordable housing or shared ownership schemes at an income of over €28,000 does not qualify for any subsidy.

Under the Shared Ownership Scheme a minimum deposit of €1,270 is required, while 3% of the purchase price is required under the 1999 Affordable Housing Scheme.

The minimum percentage share that can be purchased under the Shared Ownership Scheme is 40%. The maximum loan that may be advanced by a local authority in respect of the share of the [450]dwelling being purchased is €185,000. The application of the maximum loan and minimum share criteria could facilitate the purchase of a house costing €462,500. Accordingly, certain local authorities impose a maximum house price limit for shared ownership transactions in their areas where they deem it necessary.

The loan, income, subsidy and deposit thresholds are kept under review to ensure they are meeting the needs of prospective clients and any changes will be announced in due course.

  447.  Mr. Bruton  Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche   the interest rate and the mortgage protection cover rate which is currently in place under fixed and variable options of the house purchase schemes; and the cost of these per €1,000 borrowed in terms of annual payments on a standard mortgage. [39697/06]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  The current variable interest rate on local authority loans is 4.25%. In addition, a mortgage protection charge of 0.598% is applied to loans taken out on or after 1 July 1986. The cost per €1,000 for an annuity loan over 25 years would be €71.18 including mortgage protection. The current 5 year fixed interest rate on local authority loans is 4.45% and the cost per €1,000 over 25 years would be €72.54 including mortgage protection.

  448.  Mr. Bruton  Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche   the maximum value of the grant payable by local authorities towards the cost of essential repairs and adaption of a home to meet the needs of a person with a disability in 2007; and the way these have been increased in Estimates 2007. [39698/06]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  While there is no statutory maximum level of disabled persons or essential repairs grant payable by local authorities, under the Housing (Disabled Persons and Essential Repairs Grant) Regulations 2001, my Department recoups to local authorities two-thirds of their expenditure on these grants subject to a maximum of €13,547 for each disabled persons grant and €6,353 in the case of each essential repairs grant. The local authority generally pays the remaining one-third from its own revenue resources, giving effective maximum grant levels of €20,320 for disabled persons grants and €9,530 for essential repairs grants.

A review of the Disabled Persons and Essential Repairs Grant schemes has recently been finalised within my Department arising from [451]which I expect to announce revised proposals early in the New Year. Pre-budget estimates for the 2007 housing programme are set out in the Abridged Estimates Volume, which was recently [452]published. Details in relation to disabled persons, essential repairs and improvement grants will be published as part of the Revised Estimates for the Public Service early in 2007.


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