Help to Buy Scheme for First Time Buyers

Help to Buy Scheme for First Time Buyers

Since January 2017  –
irst time buyers in Ireland have been able to claim a tax rebate equal to 5% of the value of the new home they are buying.  The Help to Buy Scheme or “HTB” Scheme is also being called the “First Time Buyers Grant”.

It is only available on the purchase of a new home – which is defined as “a new building which was not previously used, or suitable for use, as a dwelling.”  Second hand homes are not eligible.
This HTB scheme is due to end at the end of 2019

As of  November 2018, a total of 9,963 claims had been approved under the scheme which is less than half of the overall applications of 21,859.

The Help to Buy tax rebate of up to €20,000  is available only to first time buyers to help them purchase a new home in Ireland.  The home must be purchased from a 2qualifying contractor” . It is aimed at people who might not be able to afford to put down a 10% deposit in line with Central Bank Mortgage Rules.

The  HTB tax rebate can  be claimed on new homes that were bought since July 19th 2016 .  But – if you signed a contract to buy a property (or drew down the first tranche of the mortgage for a self-build) before 19th July 2016  you will not be eligible for the Help to Buy Scheme
The Help to Buy scheme is due to finish at the end of 2019 .

Since February 1st 2018 – First Time Buyers in Ireland can also apply for low interest rate mortgages from local authorities – read more here about this Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan. 

It looks like it is possible to use both the Help to Buy Scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Loan – we have not seen anything to say otherwise.

Bonus : If first time buyers also manage to take out one of the bank mortgages that offer cashback – such as with Bank of Ireland , they could get as much as 8% total cashback.

See the Lowest Mortgage Rates Here

HTB Details:

The government’s  Help to Buy Scheme  (HTB)  enables eligible first time buyers to get up to 5% of the purchase price of a new house or apartment back in the form of a tax rebate.  This can then be used towards the deposit on the purchase .

The total tax rebate under Help to Buy is  limited to the total income tax and DIRT paid over the previous four tax years and will be capped at €20k. If you have paid less than €20k income tax / DIRT  in the past 4 years – the maximum rebate possible will be the total amount of tax you paid.

Purchases Before Jan 1st 2017
The rules are different for houses bought or built between July 19th 2016 and Dec 31st 2016. These properties will  be eligible for tax rebates on purchases up to €600,000 – but the rebate will still be limited to  €20,000.

Purchases from Jan 1st 2017 – The 5% tax rebate will only apply to houses  priced up to €500,000. Still  with a €20k cap.

Applications for Help to Buy

There are 2 stages to the  HTB Application :
Stage 1 is to work out the maximum relief available to you under the scheme based on tax payments you made in the relevant years.  You can apply before you choose a house or apply for a mortgage. Once you know the maximum rebate possible –  you can then  arrange a mortgage and/or sign a contract with a prospective Qualifying Contractor.

When mortgages and contracts are signed you will need to  complete Stage 2 of the Help to Buy Claim  where the exact rebate will be worked out based on purchase price.

Payments of the rebate will be made directly to the builder/developer as part of  the deposit.  The builder/developer must have registered with Revenue as a registered contractor under the Help to Buy Scheme . Only properties built by a registered contractor will be eligible.
In the case of a self build – the payment wil be made direct to the bank providing the mortgage.

Before making an application for the Help to Buy Scheme , you will  first need to complete Online Forms 12 (if a PAYE taxpayer) OR Forms 11 (if self-assessed), in respect of each of the  four tax years and you must pay any outstanding taxes due.

Online applications for the Help to Buy scheme have been accepted by Revenue since Jan 3rd 2017.
PAYE employees can apply on Revenue’s MyAccount .
Self Assessed taxpayers can apply through ROS

Applicants will also need to register to use the Revenue’s MyEnquiries service.

Mortgage Rules

In order to qualify, applicants must take out a mortgage of at least 70% of the purchase price, or in the case of a self -build, at least 70% of the valuation approved by the mortgage provider.  

First Time Buyer – definition . Revenue say that…. “The first-time buyer must not have either individually or jointly with any other person (directly or indirectly), previously purchased, orbuilt a property.”

So – owning an inherited property will not exclude people from this scheme.

Clawback: The property must be occupied by the first-time buyer, or at least one of the first-time buyers in the case of multiple first-time buyers , for a period of five years from the date the property is habitable — otherwise some or all of the rebate will have to be repaid. See Below …
Leave or sell within 1 year – 100% of rebate to be repaid.
Leave or sell within 2 years – 80% of rebate to be repaid.
Leave or sell within 3 years – 60% of rebate to be repaid.
Leave or sell within 4 years  – 40% of rebate to be repaid.
Leave or sell within 5 years – 20% of rebate to be repaid.

Examples of Rebate Amounts

Purchase Price             Max Tax Rebate on Purchases
After Dec 31 2016

200,000                          10,000
250,000                          12.500
300,000                          15,000
400,000                          20,000
499,000                          20,000
501,000                            Nil


First Time Buyers Grant

There was a First Time Buyers Grant in operation from 1977 to 2002. When it was abolished it was worth €3,610 .The Housing Minister at the time said the  grant “returned little benefit to consumers” and had “simply been absorbed in the increased profits of builders“.

We wonder if the same thing will happen this time around?  Will the HTB scheme  just result in a rise in house prices ?

Update – Sept 2017

The Dept of Finance  commissioned an independent impact assessment on the effects of the Help to Buy incentive. This was carried out by a company called Indecon Economic Consultants .
This review suggests that the HTB measure was  implemented in an
efficient manner and targets support for FTBs to help them fund the deposit on a house. By restricting the measure to owner occupiers and capping
the level of support to the lesser of a number of criteria it has been efficient in minimising the Exchequer costs.
However, the review also found that by providing assistance on properties above average values and by not linking the measure to incomes, the HTB scheme is likely to have been subject to “deadweight.”  (Basically it paid out to some people who didn’t need help )

166 thoughts on “Help to Buy Scheme for First Time Buyers

  1. These scheme is not fare for all First Time Buyers at all. What is difference between someone who signed contracts to purchase their home a few days before 19th July and other who signed their contracts on or after 19th July? The first one won’t get any money as me and the second one will be benefited by their grant. Is that a democratic scheme in a democratic country, what do you think?

    • As with most things there has to be a start date – some people will lose out.

      • Would it not make more sense for the two start dates to be the draw down of the mortgage? As it is with self builds.

      • Me and my husband are in the process of buying a new apartament. We payed 10% deposit of 22000 euros, and the revenue HTB scheme approved an amount of 9280 euros, so how it will work ? Solicitor told us to pay 10% deposit, but now I know that HTB scheme can be used as part of deposit . Please, can you explain what will happen now?

    • We Got the same. I dont get it why its back dated to 19th of july. I had closing on 17th of may and if i would be aware of tax break I would w8 another 2 months. It should be from 1st of January or whole year of 2016…..

      • I am in the same boat. Surely it will be very hard for revenue to confirm date of contracts were signed? They collect Stamp Duty, why can’t they base it off that??

      • They will require a copy of the signed contratct to be uploaded along with the online application.

      • Please contact the ministers office and also your local TD’s if you are unhappy about the start date. I agree it should be the start of a tax year if its a tax rebate. The more pressure put on the better. Details on the scheme still have to be finalized.

  2. Apologies for the mistake, I am so disappointed, the scheme is not fair

  3. Where are these specific details regarding eligibility coming from as these are not quotes. What is your source? Also can you think of any reason why they are not both based on when the mortgage is drawn down?

    • If they based new house purchases on the date of mortgage drawdown – that would be the day the house was bought.
      Mortgage drawdown on a self build usually coincides with the start of the build – which could be many months before it is completed.
      I guess they are choosing a documented event that is/was prior to a full deposit being required. If they used the completion date for self build – many people would probably see it as unfair to self builds. But – some civil servant probably knows the real reason !
      All info is sourced from reliable sources –

  4. If my wife and I take out a mortgage to build a new home with the 20/80 ratio; and my wife already owns an apartment; will I qualify for the tax rebate?

    • If any member of a couple already owns a property then the couple are not classed as first time buyers and will not be aligible for this rebate.

  5. Does this apply to a couple who apply for a mortgage now but only one has recently started working – ie would not have paid income tax for the previous 4 years. Would the couple be eligible for only half the grant?

    • The fine details have yet to be released – but the most anyone can get is the total tax they have paid in the past 4 years here. (or €20,000 if that is less). We should know more before teh end of the month.

  6. Does it still apply if your applying for a mortgage on the basis of a 10% deposit ie 10/90 ratio thanks

    • It was announced that people must have an 80% or more mortgage to be eligible – so yes 90% mortgages will be fine .

  7. We hope to build a house next year, my husband and I will be paying income tax here for a year and a half by then, will we qualify for this?
    Also will u be able to get 2% cashback from BOI as well?

    • Hi Michelle – you will qualify if it is your first home – but the most you will get will be the total of the tax you have paid in the past 4 years in Ireland.

  8. Will the 10% deposit up to a max of 220k and 20% thereafter still apply with this scheme?

  9. As the scheme can only accept applications from 2017, surely the previous 4 tax years will be 2013-2016 inclusive. I read an article where they state 2012-2015 inclusive, but I can’t understand why they’d just leave out 2016. Thoughts?

    • I guess they were just giving an example of a house bought in 2016. Even though applications can’t be made until 2017 , soem people will have bought the home in 2016 and 2102 to 2015 would be the relevant tax years for them.

      • Makes sense. But ROS / PAYE Anytime only seems to go back 4 previous years, so by 2017, I won’t be able to see 2012. Maybe finance bill will clarify?

  10. I plan to close before the new year and my contacts where signed after the 19 of July.
    I have a LTV with my bank of 80% before the rebate. Can i draw down the rebate now as ill be over the 80%.

    I want to get the lowest interest rates offered by banks on their LTV of 80% mortgages.

    • The information from Revenue just states that a mortgage must be at least 80% LTV . So , if this is what your mortgage is, you will be eligible for the scheme. You do not have to add the rebate to your deposit.

  11. Myself and my wife are in the process of buying a house as first time buyers and will be signing the contract shortly. We have made significant sacrifices over the past 4 years to save 20% of the house value. As we currently have savings of 20% of the house value will this rule us out of receiving the first time buyers grant. We were considering taking out a mortgage of 81% to ensure we qualify. Is there any system in place to stop people who have significant amounts of money taking out an 81% mortgage and then repaying 30% of the mortgage once they receive the grant. Although I assume not too many first time buyers are in this situation unless they are receiving money from family members etc

    • Taking a mortgage of 80% or more will keep you within the eligibility criteria for this scheme.
      The final legislation has yet to be published – but so far there is no mention of any checks on the amount of savings a buyer has – so yes, it looks like it would be possible for someone to do what you suggest.

  12. Question about the date of signing of the contract. Are we talking about the time when we pay 10 percent of deposit or closing date and full money to be paid to developer? which one has to be after 19 July 2016 ?

    • You must have signed a contract agreeing to buy , after 19th July. The date ou paid a deposit was the date of the contract to buy. This is based on current oinformation available – but you might want to verify this with Revenue yourself. Tel 01 7023011

  13. Does the help to buy apply to a person who is given a site from his/her parents?

    • If you are getting a mortgage that is 80% or more of the property valuation as approved by the mortgage provider – then you will be eligible. ( The valuation would normally include the value of the site.)

  14. Is it possible to avail of the rebate if you have previously been gifted a property but have never been extended a home loan to buy a property (which is what the Central Bank define a First Time Buyer as).

    • The notes from Revenue on this Help To Buy Incentive state that “The first-time buyer must not have either individually or jointly with any other person (directly or indirectly), previously purchased, built or inherited a property.

      So – it appears that having a property gifted to you WILL exclude you from being eligible.

    • Dave- the previous reply has now been amended. The Revenue had two sets of notes on this – and one set specifically exludes people who have inherited houses. So- until final legislation is published and we get final clarification we will err on the side of caution assume that is the case. (inheriting a house means you are not a first time buyer). Sorry for any confusion

      • Hello again. Can I just check that the Finance Bill today clarified who was eligible (First Time Purchaser)

        “means an individual who, at the time of a claim under subsection (3) has not, either individually or jointly with any
        other person, previously purchased or previously built, directly or
        indirectly, on his or her own behalf a dwelling”

        so receiving a gift of a property would not prevent someone from accessing the rebate?

      • Yes Dave – it now looks like inheriting a property does not stop someone being classed as a first time buyer for the purposes of this HTB Incentive . Articel has been updated to show this. Thanks

  15. A new house stamp duty is calculated from the total less vat.
    6. Will the property value be taken as it is displayed on the property price register?
    The purchase price is the final price of the house, which is the amount that the individual pays to the builder. For example, it is the amount that would be used for the payment of stamp duty.

    So the rebate is going to be 5% of the purchase price.

    So a builder asking for a total of €300,000 for a new house
    means that purchases price is €264,317 put vat €35,683 for a total of €300,00.
    You now receive a rebate of €264,317*5% €13,215.

  16. Can you please define “first time buyers”? We own an appartment abroad, bought with cash, no mortgage. Are we considered first time buyers in Ireland?

    • Revenue say that “a first-time buyer must not have either individually or jointly with any other person (directly or indirectly), previously purchased, built or inherited a property.”

      So – as you have already bought a house – it looks like you would not be classed as a first time buyer.
      You might want to check directly with Revenue yourself for certainty .

      • Thanks! Does the revenue spicify is the previously purchased property should be in Ireland and/or abroad?

      • Not specified in the brief notes – but the legislation will be published later this month and might be more specific. It is unlikely they will treat foreign property owners as first time buyers.

  17. Hi there
    I want to buy a new build home and i am a first time buyer , The property price is 300,000. my husband and I are ready to buy and have our full 20% deposit
    I need to borrow 240,000 and give the builder 60,000 (LTV80%)
    Do I give the builder the 60 k and draw down my mortgage , then file for tax return of 15k rebate ?
    Appreciate any advise , thanks a mill

    Is that how it works? Do you claim back the 5% retrospectively ?

    • Because of the delay in setting the scheme up – the current situation is that buyers proceeding before January will have to claim the 5% back after they buy. When it is up and running – the idea is that buyers will be able (hopefully) to actually rely on the 5% rebate to pay part of the deposit. We will have to wait and see if the process is fast enough for that to happen.

  18. Would you still be classified as a 1st time buyer if you inherited a house? I know the previous scheme stipulated that irrespective of purchase or inheritance if you ever owned a property you were not a 1st time buyer but has it been verified in this grant?

    • I think someone asked the same question earlier. The current brief notes from Revenue say that a “a first-time buyer must not have either individually or jointly with any other person (directly or indirectly), previously purchased, built or inherited a property”

  19. HI, I just paid a booking deposit for a new house today. I guess, I should be signing a contract in the next few weeks paying at that moment the 10% of deposit, and paying the rest once the house is ready in Feb-Mar 2017 . I have paid taxes only in 2016. My question is:

    – will I be able to get the grant? Claiming back the taxes that I paid in 2016 because the house will be ready and paid in full in 2017, although I signed the contract and pay the 10% of deposit in 2016?

    Thanks for you clarification

    • The full details are not yet available but the current information says it is a “refund of income tax and DIRT paid over the previous four tax years “. As you will be applying in Jan 2017 – then the previous 4 years will include 2016 – so you should be eligible for something . I see your concern that for you , 2016 may not be coosidered as in the previous 4 years. This is not yet 100% clear – but I think you should apply anyway.
      You might get clarification from Revenue in the meantime – try calling them on 01 7023011. This is a number they have given for queries about the Help to Buy Incentive. Let us know what they say.

  20. We paid a deposit and signed the contract with our solicitor in May, does this mean we are not entitled to the tax rebate because it was before July?? even though the house to date is only being built and we haven’t even drawn down our mortgage??

    • Donna – they are the rules as decided by Revenu/Govt – there has to be a start date and I’m afraid you missed out. Hopefully you wil have got a lower price than someone buying now?

  21. Hi

    I bought a house in France when I was 21 years of age as an investment property as Irish prices were crazy at the time. I have never lived in this house and have rented in Ireland since leaving my family home. Would I qualify for grant as I have never purchased a principal dwelling

  22. Does this apply only to new developments? Can you define new property, please? Thanks for all the info. This is very helpful

    • REvenue have said that A new build is “a property that has not been occupied before”.

  23. Hi if booking deposit is paid to estate agent before 19th July am i still eligable for a rebate..Or is it the date that contracts are signed with solicitor that it is backdated to?

    • We need to see the final legislation to be 100% sure – but based on what Revenue have released so far the date of the signed contract to buy the house is the critical date. (A booking deposit is not a binding contract to buy a house – and has no legal status.)

      • Hi, just wondering if there has been any further clarification on this? I paid a booking deposit in June but have yet to sign contracts.

    • The maximum rebate will be 5% of the house price. If there are joint owners they can make joint or separate claims for a tax rebate. Our current understanding is that the rebate will be split in line with the ownership. I.e – a 50/50 ownership and mortgage on a 400,000 house – each buyer can claim rebate on 200,000 each. They will both need to be on the purchase contract and the mortgage agreement and both be first time buyers.
      There may be scope to apportion different portions of the rebate to joint buyers. But this is not clear yet.
      The final legislation will clarify this hopefully. We will update the article when that happens.

  24. Hi, I would like to ask for tax relief for first time buyers and how that can affect my application in bank? I would like apply for mortgage at the beginning of January.
    Bank can borrow me 185000. House price is 230000. I have 34000. So it will be missing 11000. 5% from 230000 will be 11500.My bank said they need to see that balance of funding i.e. 45k for the application.Bank should take this into consideration when I apply for mortgage? When I can apply for this rebate? How its looks like? Where i need apply for this and how long it takes? Thank you !

    • The sceheme is due to open for applicants in Jan 2017. The final legislation has to be agreed before then – so details could change. On a 230000 house – 80% is 184,000 – so borrowing 185,000 will be OK .
      The whole idea of this scheme is that the 5% tax rebate is put towards the deposit . Since this is not up and running yet – the banks probably don’t know how it is going to work. We should all hear more details in the coming weeks hopefully. In teh meantime queries can be directed to Revenue – 01 7023011. “Ask about the Help to Buy Incentive ” . Let us know if you find out anything useful.

  25. I am currently self building a house with my partner. We have just drawn down our first part of the mortgage and our mortgage is €180,000. Are we eligible to apply even though our mortgage is €180,000? We are not married and we both will be first time property owners so do we claim between us or can we both claim separately?

    • One of the criteria is that the mortgage has to be at least 80% of the house valuation (as approved by the mortgage lender.) So if your mortgage lender values your house (when built) at €225,000 or less – then you will meet that criteria.

      • Our house upon completion was valued at €260,000 by the banks, but our mortgage is only €180,000. With the new legislation released today at 70% would we not qualify even though we had to save a deposit seperately at the start for the bank?

      • Under the proposed rules – with a 70% limit you would need a mortgage of 182,000 or more to qualify for the rebate.

  26. Hi, just a quick question…

    So at the moment, it seems like if i had 25% of the value of my home in savings and decided against the lower LTV variable rates and only put down 20% of the value of my home, i would be eligible for the 5% grant. Now after buying the home, i could take the extra 5% i had saved, plus the 5% grant and pay off a large chunk of the loan. Although on the higher rate of interest, the loan remaining would be less, hence the interest paid back would likely be lower over the lifetime of the mortgage, as well as being paid back sooner.

    Surely they have to protect against this situation some way??

    • We will have to wait for the full legislation – but it would be hard to legislate against the example you give. People could win the lottery or get an inheritance etc . They will hardly be allowed to check how much money you have in savings accounts before they grant the rebate. People will have money kept back for furniture etc etc .

    • We are pretty sure when they say mortgage they mean a home loan from a licenced mortgage lender such as a bank.

  27. I am in the middle of a self build at the moment, the valuation of the house was done by the bank a few weeks back for the mortgage. I have taken out a mortgage but hope to build a house a little cheaper than what I have applied in the mortgage for. So what valuation stands when you are in the process of self building, can I apply in January even thought in the end I may not draw down all of my mortgage as I may not need it, or will there be a separate valuation by the revenue?

    • If you mean in the case of a self-build , the land the house is built on – then no it does not disqualify you. BUT but the value of the site will probably be included in the valuation of the property and might result in you not meeting the criteria for the minimum mortgage required.

  28. Is there provision for any special situations in relation to the scope of the definition of a First Time Buyer?

    Anything in relation with divorce, judicial separation ? Situations like selling a previous mortgaged property due to a divorce ..without retaining any interest etc ?

  29. We signed our contract in late March so very unlucky. However, we have asked that the contracts be reissued on the grounds of amending a clause. We have also asked local TDs to lobby either a-backdate to the start of 2016 or b-base on the closing of the sale. I would have thought initially that the basis should have been the close of sale anyway because we don’t own the house until that date!?

    • I’m in the ssme situation as yourself. I signed my contract in July so miss out by few days. His did u get on in getting contracts re issued??

  30. Hi, I’m buying a property newly built for €277500. I’m a first time buyer and paying€67500 deposit on the property. Will I qualify for the grant?

    • You will pass the borrowing rules (if the minimum mortgage rule stays at 70%) – so if you pass the first time buyer criteria and it is a new home then you should be eligible.

  31. Two questions.

    We’re in the middle of buying a builder finish house so it’s obviously never been lived in. However it was built to its current position ten years ago. Will we qualify on this basis?

    Secondly, we’re paying 220k for the house, and factoring in an andditional 50k to finish it – fixtures only – not furniture – and this has been agreed with the bank. We’re borrowing €216k – 80% of the €270k that it will take to finish the house. If we qualify, can we apply for a 5% rebate on the finished price of €270k or only of the purchase price of 220k?

    • Based on the information available at the moment – that house should be eligible because it meets the criteria of never having been occupied.
      Regarding the valuation , it isn’t 100% clear how it would work in your situation. But, if the bank’s valuation for mortgage purposes is €270k – then it could be argued that should be the valuation that Revenue use.(not the purchase price) Your purchase is almost like a partial self-build, because you have to finish it off to make it habitable. With a full self build – the bank’s valuation will be used for the Help To Buy scheme. Of course – this is just an informed opinion and you will need to verify this with Revenue when the scheme is finally up and running.
      Good Luck

  32. Hi i am just wondering is this just for newly built houuse or is it from an autioneers as previously owned home?

  33. We also signed contracts in may. The budget anouncment said nothing about the date of signing contracts so we assumed it was the date of mortgage drawn down as you don’t even get keys before then.. I agree if a lot of people are unhappy hopefully they will change it to the start of 2016.

      • If you mean you signed a contract in the last week of May – then you will be outside the qualifying time period.

  34. Hi,

    We are in the process of buying the house we are renting. We have rented from the builder who could not sell the house during the downturn. The house was completed circa 2010 but was never sold. The builder recently decided to sell and gave us first refusal option to buy it. All the contracts, etc are treating this as a new build sale. Do we qualify for this new grant? Does a “new house” require to have been completed in 2016?

  35. I had previously built a house now sold, when I was single but now I’m married and my wife who has never owned a house and myself want to buy, can my wife on her own or both of us qualify?

    • Revenue state that “The first-time buyer must not have either individually or jointly with any other person (directly or indirectly), previously purchased, or built a property. Where more than one individual is involved in purchasing or building a new home, all of the individuals must be first-time buyers.”
      So – your wife , purchasing one her own , could apply for the Help to Buy Scheme as a First Time Buyer if she meets the mortgage criteria.

  36. If I buying house for 220.000 euro how much I will have to invest my own money to got it ?

    • You will need to get a mortgage of 154,000 or more to be eligible for this Help to Buy Scheme (so a deposit of less than 66000)

  37. Hi
    I’m in the process of buying a Nama owned property. No contracts signed yet as it takes an age with Nama. The property was built nearly 10 years ago. It would have been rented but never owned. I’m wondering do I qualify? I know you mentioned a new home is one that has never been occupied, does never been occupied include it being rented out? I hope I qualify. Thanks

    • The legislation currently defines a qualifying residence as a ” new building which was not previously
      used, or suitable for use, as a dwelling” .
      This would seem to exclude any property that has previously been rented out.

  38. Hi, if I am buying a house worth 180,000 and I am only paying a 10% deposit on the house which is 18,000 will I qualify for the rebate ? Does the mortgage have to be less than or higher than 70% of the house value ?

  39. Hello,

    Could you please clarify the minimum 70% mortgage requirement for me – I am in the process of buying a new build for €380k, and will have a 90% mortgage, so I have paid a deposit of €38k. The contracts were signed on 17th Oct 2016 – does this mean I will qualify of the first time buyers grant please?
    Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • The final legislation is not yet passed – but the proposed minimum mortgage is 70% . So anyone with a deposit of 30% or less will meetthat requirement. If contracts were signed after July 19th – then you fit into the date cut off too.

  40. Hi. We are in the process of buying a new house. It is actually being built at the moment. the price is 215000. our deposit is 10% plus extra to pay our solicitor. will we qualify for the scheme?

    • If your mortgage is more than 70% (Yours is 90%) then you will be eligible as long as you meet any other conditions of the scheme.

  41. Hi,
    It says anywhere how that 5% will be paid back?
    I.e. as a tax credit or ones of payment.

  42. Looking at getting our first mortgage and looking at a rebuild. The house looking at was burnt down so a rebuild. Would this hit the required criteria.

    • Under Revenue rules on VAT – it seems that a rebuild is treated as a new build for VAT purposes. If that is the case- then it will be eligible for this help to buy scheme.
      You should not rely on this information – it is based on interpretation of Revenue documentation. You should verify this with Revenue .

  43. Hi, do you know have they reduced the threshold on the deposit. I’m buying a house for €277500 and I’m putting a deposit of €67500 down?

  44. Hi
    My gf and I are approved in principle for a 276k mortgage on property valued at 315k. Both paying tax for 10+ years.
    220k @ 10% =22k
    85k @ 20% = 17k
    Deposit = 39k (excl stamp, solicitors etc)
    HTB is 5% of 315k = 15,750
    Does this mean we need €23,250 cash (plus stamp duty and solicitors fees)?
    Does the gov pay the developer the value of the grant?
    Do we need to be pre approved by gov before buying the house?

    • Exactly right – €23,250 is what you will need. The proposal is that for purchases after 1/1/17 – the Help to Buy payment will be made to the builder/developer direct. The exact methods etc have yet to be decided. The builders/developers have to register for this help to buy scheme. If they don’t register – you won’t be able to get the help.

      • Hi so if the builder who I’m buying the house from now doesn’t register i don’t qualify for the grant? Sale should be complete by Christmas.

      • That could very well happen. This Help To Buy incentive was introduced to try and encourage people to buy new houses. If your builder has already sold the house to you – then there isn’t much of an incentive for the builder to get involved in this scheme – but if he has more unsold houses he should be getting approved for the scheme if he wants to attract buyers looking for Help to Buy money.
        In your case – if the sale is completed before 2017 – any help to buy grant will be paid direct to you.
        A bit more info here –

  45. Hi. I’m a first time buyer but my partner is not(he owns an apartment with his ex wife). I’m willing to go forward with a sole application in order to qualify for the help to buy scheme. My question is – even though I’m going as a sole applicant, will the consider his income as he will be contributing to the mortgage?

    • Probably best to wait for the legislation to be finalised and Revenue to sort out the fine detail. Not sure exactly what you are asking .. who will consider his income ?

  46. Can we all please contact our local Tds and Michael Noonan to get it put back to Jan 16. This is the response I got from my local TD
    Furthermore, and as you rightly mention in your email, the rationale behind the different criteria and draw down requirements for buyers compared to self-build applicants as part of the scheme is also questionable. However, I have already brought these concerns to the attention of officials from the Department of Finance during a private session last week and I intend to also raise this important issue further as the Finance Bill proceeds to Committee Stage in the coming days as I feel that there are a number of outstanding issues in respect of these proposals which require further scrutiny.

    • If some people want it backdating to January – then there will be others who wil ask for December 2015 then others will ask for even further. It could go on and on. There has to be a start date – and that was announced back in July. The whole idea was to stimulate the ongoing housing market , not to give refunds to people who already bought houses.

  47. Hi There,
    My question may not come under this category, I guess, We paid booking deposit for a new build in June this year, it was agreed that the contact will be issued in 3 weeks but there is no sign of contract up until now, the selling agent keeps giving excuses such as there is some delay from their solicitor, they don’t give us the reason for the delay, I understand that we can pull out of the contract and get our deposit back but we don’t want to do that because this is the best location for our commuting needs and we also changed our children’s school close to this property as it was guaranteed by the agent that we’ll get the key by Sep, the building work is already completed, so I’ve no idea what is the reason for delay in issuing the contract, recently the agent is not even bothering to answer my emails or calls, so just wondering is there anything we can do legally to push them to issue the contract ASAP as we’re fed up with dealing with this agent

  48. Hi this is a great thread with lots of useful information. So well done! Is it only homes that are being sold by contractors that are eligible? My predicament is my brother has built a house (self build) on family land. It is not habitable yet and it turns out that his personal circumsatnces have changed and he has moved away from the area. If i was to purchase the house from him would this be eligible under the scheme? (obviously as long as all the other criteria was met)

    • It appears that only houses sold by a “qualifying contractor” will be eligible
      Revenue’s current notes (these may change) say that …
      “A ‘qualifying contractor’ is as a person who applies to Revenue for registration as a qualifying contractor and in respect of whom Revenue are satisfied is entitled to be so registered based on…
      • their evidence of tax compliance; which means that a contractor has a Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT) rate of zero or 20% and an up-to-date tax clearance certificate, and
      • the details provided of qualifying residences which the contractor proposes to construct within the period that the incentive is available. The details should also include planning permission(s) and details of the freehold, leasehold estate or interest in the land on which the proposed qualifying residences are located. Revenue may require other relevant information for the purposes of assessing an application as a qualifying contractor, and updates will be provided on an ongoing basis as the detail of the incentive is finalised.”

      So it may not be easy or viable for your brother to register as a qualified contractor . When the legislation is finalised you should probably double check with Revenue.

  49. So in order to be eligable for the “help to buy” scheme you need to already have got a mortgage which you cant get without 10% deposit so how exactly does this help someone “TO BUY” a home if you already need to own it??? I am working my arse off to get 10% together as a single FTB and feel I am getting no where how does this scheme help??

    • The Help to Buy rebate of 5% will be used as part of the deposit. If it all works correctly – the builder/developer will be involved in the applications and will be sent the Help to Buy money directly – so you will possibly only need a 5% deposit. The article has been updated to explain this better. Apologies for any confusion caused.

  50. Is there provision for any special situations in relation to the scope of the definition of a First Time Buyer? ie seperated, divorced?
    A spouse to a marriage the subject of a decree of judicial separation, a deed of separation, a decree of divorce or a decree of nullity in the case of the first acquisition of a house by the spouse following the separation or divorce provided that the spouse had, in relation to the former marital home,
    left that home;
    not retained an interest in that home;
    whose separated/former spouse continues to occupy that home, which home was occupied by both spouses prior to the separation or dissolution of the marriage.

  51. A chara, I have talked to several banks in the past few days & none seem to know how the 5% grant will work regarding receipt of the rebate by the banks themselves. I am assuming that it will be available (in a holding account possibly) in advance of buying the house as a boost to first time buyers in order to get us over the 10% line. However, talking on the phone to bank officials, they are still speculating that it could possibly be in the form of a retrospective tax rebate after the house is purchased, which would render it useless for those struggling to build the necessary deposit.
    Is there any confirmation that it will definitely be the former method of tax refund & any idea when will the government give the banks this confirmation?

    • Any payment from the scheme is due to be made direct to contractors (developers/builders) towards the deposit. Banks should take this into account when assessing gmortgages. Banks won’t be paid the money nor will the purchaser. Only payments for retrospective purchases made before Jan 2017 will involve payments going straight to buyers.

  52. Hi,
    We signed a contract on 8th may 2016 but closed the purchase (drew down the mortgage and made payment) in 11th November 2016 for a new built home. Are we eligible for the scheme?

    • As stated in the article – If you signed a contract to buy a property before 19th July 2016 you will not be eligible for the Help to Buy Scheme

  53. Hi,
    I am just about to make my first offer on a house 1 have 100,000 to play with as I am single thatstorey the most important can borrow as of now. I have the 10% deposit. I am currently looking at a 2 bedroom mid terrace house currently not occupied. It’s up for 80k and an offer of 86k stands on it. I have the deposit money but will need to get money together for the the other costs…. solicitor and that.
    Can the HTB incentive help me release money from my deposit savings to pay for the other costuff.

    • That is the idea – the HTB money is paid to the developer as part of the deposit , leaving you with less deposit to pay from savings. The property must be a new build and the developer needs to be registered for teh HTB scheme with Revenue. At the moment teh list of registered developers is very small (1) .

  54. Needed to have Registered Contractor to avail of this HTB Scheme.

    I saw only (1) contractor on the list…

    If our Contractor/Developer is Not Registered…

    Then, we can’t Avail of the HTB Scheme?


    • Only houses sold by registered contractors are eligible – but the registration only started recently so it could take a while before the list grows. You could always suggest to your developer to register as it should help their sales.

  55. Will the scheme help me if I’m buy any home. I am looking at a mid terrace house only needs about 8k to get it in shape but is liveable at the moment. Would the HTB incentive help me. I am FTB and single so getting the cash together is hard and never mind the cost of fees and solicitors.

    • As ststed clearly in the article – this scheme only applies to new Homes that are newly built and have never been occupied before.

  56. Hi,

    I have been approved a mortgage and I am planning on putting the deposit down on a house this week. Have the government provided a timeline on how long they will take to pay the developer. If I go ahead and purchase the house can I reclaim the tax rebate at a later date?


    • Going by the information provided by Revenue – for house purchases after Jan 1st 2017 you need to apply for the Help to Buy scheme before you sign any contracts. This is going to cause problems because it is early stages and there are hardly any approved contractors on the Revenue list. You should contact Revenue to clarify how to proceed and ask if they will pay retrospectively if the developer gets approved for the scheme.

  57. If the self build is by direct labour and not a Fixed Price Contract, can you qualify for HTB? Are the funds still paid to the lender in this case?
    Also, I note clawback conditions in relation to the leaving/selling the property; however if you won the lotto for example and decided to make a capital reduction on your mortgage within the first 5 years would there be a clawback in these circumstances? Is there an actual telephone helpline for HTB – I can’t see a Revenue Helpline anywhere apart from the MyEnquiries?
    Many thanks.

  58. Hello,

    Our builder is in Nama, I am not sure that is relevant to my question but I thought I would mention it anyway. We should be eligible for the grant but it says that the builder must sign up to it. What happens if he doesn’t sign up?

    As in if I am a builder what all the contracts signed, why would I as a builder bother signing up for this scheme?

    Thanks in advance,

    • I suppose the only reason a builder would sign up to the HTB scheme is if he has more unsold houses . The whole scheme will be pretty useless unless a wide selection of developers sign up for it.

  59. We bought a new house on November 2016 and we have already paid the deposit.
    The builder is not on the list of participant builders.
    Would it be ok if he does not want to participate at the scheme since we already paid the deposit and the money will be returned to our account.

  60. We are a married couple with a single income, I do not work. Do you have any idea how the tax rebate will be calculated. It will be taken into account only 50% of the income taxes paid by my spouse? It is calculated solely from fees paid by one of the years in the last 4 years, or will be take a 100% from taxes paid by my spouse in the last 4 years.

    • It will be based on all the income tax paid in the past 4 years by your spouse. (Maximum 20,000 or 5% of the house value)

  61. I am very close to completing a purchase of a new build (i.e. contracts are at latter stages of negotiation, mortgage arranged, etc. ). I expect to be able to sign contracts and pay the balance within 10 days. I definitely qualify for the HTB scheme. I’ve been trying to get an answer from revenue as to whether I can complete the sale now (i.e. pay over the funds necessary to get me the keys and in to the house) and apply for the grant after the fact (and either have it repaid to me or my bank, but not the developer), but am having little luck in getting a straight answer (I suspect there isn’t one available at this stage). I want to complete the sale and move in ASAP. The contractor isn’t on the list on yet (although they are a large contractor and I expect they will be on it), revenue are still processing my P12 forms and I don’t want to be stuck hanging around (and paying high rent) waiting for revenue to do their bit so I can buy the house (there’s also the possibility that the developer will not allow me to wait further). Can anyone shed some light on how I should proceed here?

    As I said, Revenue are being unhelpful (vague answers and referring me to the MyEnquiries function of the website where my query is duly ignored).

    • H Darragh – yes it seems Revenue might be making some of this up as they go along , not helped by the scheme being rushed in by the government. If you can afford the house and mortgage without the HTB money – then you should probably go ahead rather than risk losing it and maybe paying a higher price in the future. If you end up getting the rebate – then that’s a bonus.
      Hopefully the HTB scheme will be more useful in a few months when teh banks , Revenue and the builders get their act together.
      The scheme is supposed to be an incentive to builders to build new homes and buyers to buy them. If you have already decided to buy without HTB – then the scheme is not really aimed at you . Sorry can’t be more help. Godd Luck with it.

    • Hi Ciara – the HTB scheme applies only to newly built homes that have never been occupied. (So a three year old new build that has never been sold or rented out would still be eligible, for example)

  62. Hi,
    We have just submitted electronic P12’s for 2013,2014 & 2015 and have today submitted manual P12 for 2012.
    How long has it taken the revenue to come back to people and advise of approval?

  63. Hi, myself and my partner are planing a self build on a site i was gifted by my dad, looking to borrow 200,000 value of house on compleation will be 260,000. Do we qualify for this HTB scheme if so the 5% rebate is it divided in 2 as we are both first time buyers i.e 2.5% of depost each or is it 5% each?

    • You should be eligible based on those figures . You may as well apply. The 5% of the value or 20k is the maximum rebate per claim. It is not 5% each. You make a joint claim.

  64. What about a house that is done to builders finish for a few years but hasn’t been lived in?! Does it matter who built it or would they have to be registered?

  65. Hey Money Guide,
    I’m currently living with my partner, but they’ve previous owned a property in France.
    I’ll continue to live with them in a house I’d look to purchase, but would there be any issues if I took the mortgage in my name, signed the contracts in my name, and then later had my partner live with me and indirectly contribute to my mortgage?
    We may also get married a year or two after the purchase, at which point I’d like to have them formally placed upon the mortgage and the deeds.
    Would any of this prevent me from receiving the rebate, or trigger a clawback or penalty at a later stage?

    Technically, I’m the buyer and owner. At a later date we’d look to transfer part ownership to my partner and have them formally added to the mortgage.

    I presume the bank would be more interested in this arrangement (ability to meet repayments as a single applicant) than Revenue would (I seem to meet criteria for Revenue)?

    Thanks for any help!

    • As sole purchaser and a first time buyer – you would meet the HTB criteria.
      Adding a non first time buyer to the mortgage within 5 years might trigger the revenue clawback – but this isn’t clear. We can’t give you accurate advice on that. thanks

  66. Hi Money Guide
    We have seen a new house to buy, built 10 years ago and never been lived in no property tax has been paid because it wasnt habitable, its to builders finish. Are we eligible for the HTB scheme, the guy that built this house 10 years ago is not on this contractor list

    • The builder/contractor must be on the Revenue list of approved contractors in order for any application for the Help to Buy Scheme to be made.
      In this case – the property was built 10 years ago – so would not be subject to VAT – and that would also make it ineligile for the HTB scheme. Only properties on which VAT is charged are eligible for the HTB.

  67. Hi,
    If you have property outside Ireland, do you qualify for help to buy scheme.

  68. Hello there, If you have property outside Ireland, do you qualify for help to buy scheme.

    • Mohan – the rules say that applicants must “Be First Time Buyers and neither applicant can be a previous owner or current owner of a property.”
      It also says applicants must “not be a current or previous owner of residential property in or outside the Republic of Ireland”

  69. Hi ,
    I have been out of work since May 2017 and I am starting my own small business in a few weeks. My partner has been working 1 year only in Ireland. I am wondering if they consider your working situation when giving you the mortgage, will I need to have a few years earnings built up for them to see in my bank account.

  70. So if I buy a brand new house that was never lived in, does it qualify?. Or what is the purpose of this scheme? Why can it not be a second hand house?

    • It is for new homes only. It was supposed to encourage developers to build houses.

Comments are closed.