A GOVERNMENT mortgage scheme introduced to help first time buyers came under fire when an Athy councillor was told just one applicant in the area has been approved.
The Athy municipal district continues to have the least amount of successful applicants to the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, an initiative run through local authorities to provide applicants with 90% of the market value of the property.
Cllr Mark Wall asked for a report on the scheme including a breakdown of the applications
processed for each municipal district and details of why some people were unsuccessful.
In Athy seven aplications were processed and just one was successful, in Naas 29 were processed and 15 were successful and in Kildare-Newbridge 17 were processed and nine were successful.
Speaking about the county as a whole Cllr Wall said “the figures show that we are slightly below average”.
“It was claimed that this grant had all the bells and whistles when it was launched. The first time I asked Athy had only one successful applicant and a year later it still has had just one successful applicant.”
He questioned if applicants applying for the grant from neighbouring counties can transfer the money to purchase a home in their own county and he was told that they can’t.
“Just 17% of the applications were from Kildare South and just 5% were from Athy,” said Cllr Wall.
“Just 15% of the successful applications were from Kildare South. We are not getting the bang for our buck here.”
Cllr Brendan Young said the figures demonstrate the failure of the project.
“There are higher numbers in North Kildare because there are more people with more money there,” he said.
“Just 66 applications account for €15m, this reflects the unaffordability of housing.”
Cllr Suzanne Doyle disagreed and said she believes the project is a success. She asked that further funding be sought to allow more applicants the chance to avail of the scheme.
Director of Services for Housing, Tadhg McDonnell, said council officials have no discretion when it comes to allocation.
A number of criterias have to be met, the applicant has to be a first time buyer, they have to be aged between 18 and 70 years, they have to have been in full time employment for two years and earning a maximum of €50,000 for a single person or €75,000 for a couple.
“People can apply to numerous local authorities but they can only draw down from one,” he said.
“If approved by Kildare Co Council they have to use the funds in Kildare. Our name goes on the deeds.”