‘Lots of us did’: Varadkar says he was among housebuyers who got deposit from parents

Howlin says it is ‘hopeless task’ for people paying exorbitant rents to raise €20,000 deposit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that people have to work abroad or get money from parents, as he did, to find a deposit for a house. Video: Oireachtas TV

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he got financial help from his parents when buying a home, and that this form of help in raising funds remained an option for potential buyers.

Mr Varadkar insisted in the Dáil that “it has always been the case that a person needs to raise a deposit to buy a house”.

He was responding to Labour leader Brendan Howlin, who said it would be a “hopeless task” for people renting at exorbitant rates to be able to raise a deposit of €20,000 or €25,000. This would be necessary to avail of the Government’s plan for local authorities to offer secure low-interest mortgages for up to 30 years.

However, the Taoiseach said that “it has always been the case that a person needs to raise a deposit to buy a house. People do it in many different ways”.

“Sometimes people go abroad and earn money. Others get money from their parents. Lots of us did. Others get money through other loans. Sometimes people stay at home for a period and raise a deposit in that way.”

Mr Varadkar told Mr Howlin that it was always the case that “a person had to be able to raise a deposit to their own home with the exception of one period during the boom when we had 100 per cent loans”.

He added: “I would not like us to get back to 100 per cent loans because we know where that led us.”

Loan approval

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy on Monday announced an affordable housing mortgage scheme for individuals earning less than €50,000 or €75,000 for a couple and who have been twice refused by financial institutions for loan approval.

Mortgages will be offered at a 2.25 per cent rate over 25-30 years for houses worth up to €320,000 in Dublin and €250,000 outside the capital.

Mr Howlin also called for the State to establish a new housing agency to deliver affordable housing, and use 700 publicly-owned sites.

The Taoiseach said that setting up new agencies “is often the default solution to every problem in Ireland”. He said it did not always work, and would take nearly 12 months to set up. The time would be spent doing that and “not building houses”.