Strong year for HBFI as it doubles loan approvals in 2021

State agency has allocated its initial €730m funding to increase home supply

The State agency established to fund the delivery of new homes doubled loan approvals during 2021, approving funding of €835 million over the year.

That compared to €395 million in 2020, and completes the initial funding of €730 million allocated to Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) when it was first established.

Future lending will be funded from the existing loan repayments, with the potential for additional capital through market-based borrowing if required.

Driving the approvals was HBFI’s Momentum Fund, which was launched in May 2020 in response to the Covid-19 financing challenges, and has provided close to €300 million in funding. It is now closed to new applications.

HBFI chief executive Dara Deering said 2021 was a strong year for the organisation.

"Our funding is on course to deliver thousands of new homes for owner-occupiers, renters and social housing and make a real difference to the supply challenge," she said. "Our product range widened significantly to provide customised funding for new houses and apartments across 18 different counties throughout Ireland.

“Housebuilders are voting with their feet and successfully using our products to initiate and complete both large and small developments quickly and effectively.”

She said HBFI was ready to add significant capacity to match demand if required.

The agency backed funding for for 3,729 homes across 18 counties in Ireland last year. More than 500 of the units are already completed and sold, with a further 1,359 contracted for sale or sale agreed. Almost a quarter of the funded units are social housing.

The units range from one-bed apartments five-bed houses, but most are in the three-bed and two-bed market, and aimed at first-time buyer markets.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the organisation played a key role in the Government's plans to increase the supply of new housing.

“HBFI’s full year business results for 2021 show that HBFI continues to have a strong positive impact on increasing the supply of financing for residential development within the State,” Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said. “It is important to acknowledge the growth and innovation in HBFI’s product range during 2020 and 2021, including a product specifically aimed at social housing and a new Green Loan product offering discounted loan rates for developments that promote sustainable housing delivery.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

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

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