Affordable Mortgages From Local Authorities

A  government-backed mortgage scheme – the “Local Authority Home Loan”  has been running since the start of 2022. Some people call it the “affordable mortgages scheme

This local authority scheme provides mortgages at reduced interest rates to first-time buyers who have been refused a mortgage or were offered “insufficient” finance, by at least two lenders.  (not credit unions) . It is available from all local authorities in Ireland.
Important –  The two unsuccessful mortgage applications must have been for the same loan amount as the borrower is seeking to borrow under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.

The Local Authority Home Loans are targeted at people who have access to an adequate deposit and have the income capacity to repay a mortgage, but who cannot access a mortgage big enough for them to purchase their first home. It is available to people who want to purchase a new or second-hand property, or build their own home.
Borrowers will be able to borrow more than they would from the banks – it seems the Central Bank’s 3.5 times income rule doesn’t apply for this loan.

For example – with single applicants – mortgages of up to 5 times earnings seem to be possible under the scheme.

See here for how much you can borrow from the banks

Local Authority Mortgage Interest Rates :

The interest rates available on this scheme are lower than many of the mainstream lenders – these are the rates available as of July 2023.

  • 3.35% fixed rate for up to 25 years
  • 3.45% fixed interest rate for up to 30 years

For comparison with the interest rates from the mainstream lenders – see our tables of the Best Mortgage Rates here.

According to government figures, 621 home loans were approved in 2020 year at a total value of €103.4 million

You can use the loan for new and second-hand properties, or to build a home. It is possible to borrow up to 90% of the market value of the property – so you will need a minimum 10% deposit.

If you are buying a new build – you could also be eligible for the Help to Buy Scheme – and get up to 10% of the value of the home rebated.  Read more about the Help to Buy Scheme here

Maximum Property Value

The maximum values of the property that can be purchased or self-built with the scheme are :

  • €360,000 in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow
  • €330,000 in Cork, Galway, Louth, Meath
  • €300,000 in Clare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford
  • €275,000 in Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Kerry, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary

So – because of the minimum 10% deposit requirement – In Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, the maximum loan amount is €324,000.

In Cork, Galway, Louth, Meath the maximum loan amount is €297,000.

For the rest of the country, the maximum loan amount is €270,000.

Other Conditions of the Local Authority Home Loan

Applicants have to be :

  1. First-time buyers
  2.  Aged between 18 and 70 years
  3.  Have been in continuous employment for a minimum of two years, as a primary applicant or be in continuous employment for a minimum of one year, as a secondary applicant.
  4.  As a single applicant have an annual gross income of not more than €70,000
  5. Joint applicants can have an annual gross income of not more than €85,000 (gross) in all counties
    (Income threshold figures valid from March 1st 2023)
  6.  Provide evidence of insufficient offers of finance from two banks or building societies.
  7.  The property must be no more than 175 square metres (gross internal floor area)

Unlike Central Bank mortgage rules, which limit loans to 3.5 times salary, councils use different rules. They say that the affordable home loan repayments should be no more than 30 per cent of applicants’ net monthly income. However, this 30 per cent also includes the cost of mortgage protection insurance (MPI)

Mortgage Protection Insurance

It is also a requirement that a specific Local Authority mortgage protection insurance (MPI) is taken out in respect of these affordable loans. It seems that the price of this insurance is more expensive than others that are available – but apparently, the local authority MPI scheme covers disability as well as death. The disability cover is for the full period of the disability and not just 12 months as is the case in the majority of MPI policies available.
The charge for this Local Authority MPI is currently 0.555% of the outstanding mortgage (July 2021). Therefore – on a €200k mortgage – this would cost about €92 a month. (Reducing each year as the mortgage is paid off).
The rate is the same for everyone regardless of age.

There are commercially available policies from around €15 to €50 a month  – depending on age and smoking habits. But these cannot be used on a Local Authority mortgage.

Where to Apply for A Local Authority Mortgage

Applications for these Home Loans can be made to local authorities. You can get a form online here or from your local council offices.
Important note – : You need to apply to the local authority in the area you want to buy the house, regardless of where you currently live.

Further information is available from the Rebuilding Ireland help desk at 051 349720 (8am to 5pm – Monday to Friday) or from your local authority.