Housing

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Affordable Housing Scheme

Wicklow County Council Affordable Housing Scheme

Under the Affordable Housing Fund, Wicklow County Council will make homes available at a reduced price for buyers who are seeking to purchase a newly built home but need to bridge the gap between their mortgage and deposit to cover the full price of the home. It is proposed to deliver these homes on Council owned land and through advance purchases from Private Developers.

The Affordable Home Purchase Scheme provides purchasers with what is known as an equity facility. This means that purchasers will enter into an Affordable Dwelling Purchase Agreement with Wicklow County Council and will receive funds from Wicklow County Council in return for the Council taking a percentage ownership in the property purchased. The percentage ownership that Wicklow County Council holds in your home is known as an equity share. 

The purchaser can redeem or ‘buy out’ this equity share at a time of their choosing, but there is no obligation to do so. If the purchaser chooses not to redeem the equity share while living in the home, the Council can do so when the property is sold, transferred, or after the death of the owner. 

The Affordable Home Purchase Scheme will be aimed at households using their combined deposit and their approved maximum mortgage but who cannot afford the home at its open market value.

How is the affordable purchase price of properties decided?

The affordable purchase price will be calculated by Wicklow County Council based on the “purchasing power” of eligible applicants. This calculation takes into account applicants maximum mortgage capacity and the minimum price set for the home by the Council. The Applicant’s purchasing power must not exceed 95% of the market value of the property.  

The purchasing power of applicants will be calculated as the combined total of:  

Maximum mortgage capacity, i.e., 3.5 times gross household income, plus, 
A minimum deposit of 10% of the affordable purchase price, plus, 
Relevant savings**.  
**If you have savings above a certain amount, you may not qualify for the scheme. You can have the money to cover the deposit on the home and an additional €30,000. Anything above this is added to your purchasing power. And, if this purchasing power goes above 95% of the market value of the home you are not eligible for the scheme. 

Affordable Purchase Price Example – Property with a Market Value of € 222,716

The below examples show varying incomes and how they determine the affordable purchase price and the Council’s equity share of a property with a market value of €222,716.

 

How do I know if I am eligible?

  1. This initiative is targeted at first-time buyers and ‘fresh start’ applicants. Details around who can qualify under the ‘Fresh Start Principle’ is available here.
  2. Each person included in the application must have the right to reside indefinitely in the State.  
  3. Applicants “purchasing power” must not exceed 95% of the market value of the property. 
  4. Your gross household income must be below a certain level. This is calculated by multiplying your gross income by 3.5. This figure must then be less than 85.5% of the market value of the home. *Alternatively, you must have proof from a bank or financial institution that you cannot get a mortgage for 85.5% of the market value of the home. All income that is assessable can be viewed here. The income limits will differ depending on the properties being sold and this information will be included in Wicklow County Council’s advert.   


In general, the maximum income limit for an affordable dwelling is 85.5% of the market value divided by 3.5 (with exceptions), which can be viewed here.

Example:

Market Value   €275,618
85.5 % of MV   €234,275.30
Divided by 3.5%      €66,935.80 – Maximum income limit

                                             

                                                       

 Scheme of Priority

As well as the above eligibility criteria, a Scheme of Priority was approved by the Elected Members of Wicklow County Council in August 2022.  

The purpose of the Scheme of Priority is that it outlines the rules Wicklow County Council uses to decide which applicants will be offered dwellings. The Scheme of Priority will apply in the event where there are more eligible applicants than affordable homes available.  

Wicklow County Council’s Scheme of Priority can be viewed here.

Do I need mortgage approval before applying?

While it is not a requirement, it is recommended that applicants have their Mortgage Approval in Principle prior to applying for Affordable Housing, or at least be in a position to apply for a mortgage.  

A minimum deposit of 10% of the purchase price of the property will also be required so applicants should ensure they have sufficient savings before applying. First time buyer applicants can avail of the Help to Buy Scheme. This is operated by the Revenue Commissioners. For more information please see; https://www.revenue.ie/en/property/help-to-buy-incentive/index.aspx   

Please be advised that if you are applying as a Fresh Start applicant, you will be required to have a minimum of 20% deposit as per the Central Bank lending rules. 

 

How Do I Apply?

There will be an individual application for each Affordable Housing scheme, there is no general application form or waiting list. 

When affordable homes are made available for purchase, they will be advertised in the following places;

Wicklow County Council’s website
Wicklow County Council’s Social Media pages
In a local/national newspaper.
 


The advertisement will include details about the scheme including how and when to apply.  

Applications will be accepted through an online application portal. On the day the application portal opens, you will first need to register on the portal and then you can proceed to complete the online application form and submit the requested documentation.  

Please be aware that applications will be prioritised on a first come first served basis. 

A link to the application portal along with a list of the required documentation will be available on Wicklow County Council’s website. A video guide of how to complete an application will also be available. 

 

What happens next?

Your application will be assessed, and it will be determined whether you qualify for an affordable dwelling or not. When all applications have been assessed and eligibility has been determined, Wicklow County Council will contact all applicants to advise if they have been successful and if they will be receiving an offer or not, depending on the number of properties available.  

 

 

More info on Affordable Housing

·  Affordable Purchase Scheme – Glossary of Terms 

·  Affordable Housing Act 2021 .          https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2021/act/25/enacted/en/html

·  Affordable Housing Regulations 2022. https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2022/si/184/made/en/print 

·  Affordable Housing (No. 2) Regulations 2022 

·  Fresh Start Principle Guidance 

·  Affordable Purchase Income Assessment Policy 

·  Wicklow County Council Scheme of Priority 

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