Home truths and mortgage scheme

 

Sir, – According to the Government’s new mortgage scheme website (rebuildingirelandhomeloan.ie), a Dublin borrower earning €50,000 per annum is eligible under the scheme for a loan of up to €278,000 (30-year fixed rate).

On the regular mortgage market, a borrower on €60,000 per annum can borrow a maximum of €210,000, which is €68,000 less than a lower earner on the new Government scheme. Indeed, a borrower on the open market needs to be earning €80,000 per annum before they can borrow a maximum similar to the borrower on the Government’s scheme.

In effect, people earning between €50,000 and €80,000 are having their taxes used to help lower earners outbid them on the property market.

Perhaps Leo Varadkar wants his “early risers” to approach their employers for a pay cut? – Yours, etc,

PETER KEHOE,

Castleknock,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – The announcement of the “Rebuilding Ireland home loan” has left me flabbergasted at the lack of basic understanding in Government of the drivers of and solutions to the housing crisis.

We have a crisis of supply and what is needed are more houses, not more credit. Across the spectrum – economists to estate agents, journalists to social justice advocates – are clear on this. Even bankers know it (see Central Bank Economic Letter Series, volume 2016, number 12).

We also know the main drivers of the supply crisis: 1) land cost and availability; 2) planning and infrastructure shortages and delays; and 3) development and building costs. The first two could be addressed by changes in Government policy (see the Central Bank 2016 paper above), and the third could be addressed by any number of proposals put to the Government by experts in the private, public and non-profit sectors over the past several years. I’m personally familiar with ideas that were proposed under the “Clearing House” fiasco introduced in 2015 by the minister for housing before last, Alan Kelly. In total, 25 proposals were made and not a single one was acted upon. By now, several would have provided low-cost rental housing that could have begun to make a dent in the massive pent-up demand for social and affordable housing we had then and have even more of now.

Frankly, I have never seen so much effort go into achieving so little.

On second thought, I’m not flabbergasted. I’m disgusted. – Yours, etc,

Dr MARY LEE RHODES,

Trinity Business School,

Trinity College Dublin,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – As my wife and I have a combined income slightly in excess of the threshold for couples, the announced scheme will ensure that we – and anyone else in our position – are further priced out of being able to afford a home within reasonable commuting distance of Dublin, where we both work.

This is a hugely disappointing and regressive move for any person or couple above these limits who are already paying high levels of rent without any assistance while attempting to save for mortgage approval.

We will now be easily outbid by approved parties under this scheme with access to higher loan amounts serviced at much lower rates than we could hope to attain ourselves – all funded by our own taxes, still being paid at an elevated rate while we await full recovery from the policies of a previous government, which inflated a property boom for populist purposes.

The money set aside for this scheme would be far better spent on the provision of housing stock across all local authority areas. – Yours, etc,

DARRAGH McHUGH,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy’s mortgage scheme will not produce a single additional house to meet the soaring demand and will do nothing to contain the wildly escalating property prices.

Rather than use taxpayers’ money to ease the mortgage problem, he should direct the Central Bank and the clearing banks in which the Government is the major shareholder to provide the mortgage scheme. Public funds could then be directed to local authorities with a forceful demand that they get on with building social housing without further delay.

The Minister’s current focus needs a radical rethink. – Yours, etc,

PETER COOGAN,

Celbridge,

Co Kildare.