Over 4,000 people avail of First Home Scheme to buy property

A quarter of approvals are for homes in Dublin, with 15% in Kildare and 14% in Cork, with the average purchase price under the scheme at €379,000

More than 4,000 buyers have availed of the Government’s First Home Scheme, designed to aid first-time purchasers, the latest update has shown.

There has been an increase of 118 per cent in homes bought under the First Home Scheme in the first quarter of the year.

The €400 million scheme – a joint venture between the State and AIB, Bank of Ireland and PTSB – has provided more than €100 million in supports for the completed purchase thus far of over 1,500 homes since it was set up. It helps bridge the gap between a mortgage, deposit and the price of a new home.

The latest update shows an increase in the scheme’s usage during the first quarter of the year, with 262 homes bought in the period January to March, 2024, compared to 120 in the same quarter a year earlier.


The number of new applications has also grown in the first three months of the year, rising 49 per cent to 927 compared to 623 in 2023.

A quarter of the approvals were for homes in Dublin, with 15 per cent in Kildare and 14 per cent in Cork.

More than 500 applications currently being processed are due to be decided shortly, with the majority expected to be approved.

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The average purchase price for houses under the scheme is €379,000, with about €67,000, or 17 per cent, expected to be provided by the scheme, on average.

Chief executive of the scheme Michael Broderick said it had had a strong start to the year. “Applications are up almost 50 per cent year-on-year, and that augurs well for activity levels over the rest of the year,” he said.

The scheme was extended in April last year to renters who want to buy their home from a landlord, and in September to include those who wanted to build their own home.

Some 160 applications were lodged by tenants seeking to buy their homes from their landlords by the end of last month and 110 approvals were issued. A total of 32 tenants have since completed their acquisitions. The self-build scheme, meanwhile, has seen 60 applications, with 43 approved so far.

Two-thirds of those who availed of the programme were also using the Help to Buy scheme.

A recent report by KPMG found no evidence that the First Home Scheme has “materially contributed” to price inflation in new homes, but said it was critical to remain monitoring the risk on an ongoing basis.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the scheme was working as it was intended and bridging the affordability gap. “It’s great to see that the two extensions we’ve introduced to the scheme – for self-builds and tenant home purchase – are also working effectively, and that people are now using the scheme for these purposes as well.”

He added the recent KPMG report findings were welcome as they confirmed the scheme was not having any inflationary impact on the wider market.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist