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Help-to-Buy changes pushed through without any assessment of house price impact – Pearse Doherty TD

29 July, 2020 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the Government for changing the Help-to-Buy scheme without carrying out any impact assessment on the policy’s impact on house prices.

Teachta Doherty said:

“As part of the July Stimulus, the Government announced changes to the Help-to-Buy scheme that make no economic sense and will fail to benefit the vast majority of first-time buyers.

“The Government have decided to double the claim that can be made under the scheme, despite it being a cash cow for developers which will do nothing to tackle unaffordable house prices. In fact, it will make prices even less affordable.

“Given the inflationary pressures these changes will introduce to an already broken housing market, it is a cause of alarm to discover that the Government have not undertaken any impact assessment of the effects this policy change will have on house prices before introducing the legislation to the Dáil tomorrow.

“This is not evidence-based policy, but policy on the hoof.

“Instead of reducing house prices, this will cement the pricing behaviours of developers who have no incentive to reduce house prices.

“In 2019, the Parliamentary Budget Office published a stinging report on the Help-to-Buy scheme.

“The report found that the scheme has been disproportionately availed of by higher income earners. In other words, it has been largely out of reach for the vast majority of first-time buyers.

“The majority of Help-to-Buy purchases have been above the average price. Given the mortgage lending rules, this means that the scheme has largely benefited high income earners, rather than low and middle income workers.

“Only 13% of sales through the scheme were for properties costing less than €225,000. That is not an affordable housing scheme.

“Furthermore, over 40% who used the scheme already had a 10% deposit and didn’t need it, while it failed to help the majority of people trying to get on the property ladder.

“The changes to the Help-to-Buy scheme announced in the July Stimulus are economically senseless, and have been pushed through without any regard to the consequences for the majority of first-time buyers.”

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