Poll: Is the help-to-buy scheme a bad idea?

The tax relief for first-time buyers is under review.

By Conor McMahon Reporter, Fora

IT’S LOOKING LIKELY that the government will scrap the help-to-buy scheme.

Housing minister Eoghan Murphy confirmed last weekend that he will review the policy, which was designed to give first-time buyers a leg up on the property ladder.

It was reported by both the Sunday Business Post and The Sunday Times that the government was considering winding down the scheme.

First mooted in last October’s budget, help-to-buy gives first-time buyers of new build properties a relief on income tax and DIRT over a period of four years.

When the policy was announced, then-finance minister Michael Noonan said the scheme would “increase the demand for newly built houses by assisting first-time buyers to put a deposit together”.

But it didn’t take long for property pundits to voice concerns about the tax relief, warning that it would push up the cost of new homes instead of increasing housing supply.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland was among the early critics of the scheme. It said help-to-buy would not stimulate construction and would instead lead to “greater competition” for the few properties on the market.

Speaking last weekend to RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Eoghan Murphy said he was “concerned that we haven’t achieved the delivery on the supply side that we need”.

“My review we will be measuring the stock available, and aiming to get assets that are stranded, rooms above vacant shops, and empty houses back available for those who need them,” he said.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Is the help-to-buy scheme a bad idea?