The First Home Scheme (FHS) aims to make home ownership achievable for thousands of individuals and families by bridging the gap for first-time buyers and other eligible homebuyers between their deposit and mortgage, and the price of their new home.

It is what’s known as a shared equity scheme. This means that homebuyers can receive funds from the Scheme in return for the FHS taking a percentage ownership in the property purchased.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the scheme you must:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • be a first-time buyer or other eligible homebuyer
  • have a Mortgage Approval with a Participating Lender
  • borrow the maximum amount available to you from one of the Participating Lenders (up to 3.5 times your income*)
  • not be availing of a Macro Prudential Exception (MPE) with a Participating Lender
  • have a minimum deposit of 10% of the property purchase price

*there are no specific household income limits required to participate in the FHS.

To be eligible for the scheme the property you are purchasing must:

  • be a newly built house or apartment in a private development in the Republic of Ireland
  • be bought as your Principal Private Residence
  • be within the local authority property price ceiling for the property type (house or apartment)
  • not be a self-build

To see if you could qualify for FHS support, use our eligibility calculator.

How much funding can the FHS provide?

  • The FHS can fund up to 30% of the market value of your new property
  • This amount is reduced to 20% if you are availing of the Help to Buy Scheme (HTB). Details of HTB can be found on the Revenue’s website (www.revenue.ie), and examples, including the HTB can be found in the Homebuyers Guide on the Guides/Resources page
  • The minimum equity share is 2.5% of the property purchase price, or €10,000, whichever is higher

First Home Scheme at a glance

  • The FHS is a shared equity scheme.
  • Available for newly built properties in private developments.
  • Local authority area price ceilings apply.
  • Not a loan.
  • Get up to 30% of the property purchase price.
  • Service charges apply from year six.

How the scheme works in practice

taking a break from unpacking

Example one: Buying a house

David

Never owned a property (first-time buyer)

Nicola

Never owned a property (first-time buyer)

Joint salary

€100,000

Property purchase price (Dublin)

€450,000

Maximum borrowing (3.5x salary)

€350,000

Deposit

€30,000

Help to Buy

€20,000

Shortfall that could be met with the FHS

€50,000

unloading the van

Example two: Buying an apartment

Emma

Never owned a property (first-time buyer)

Shaun

Never owned a property (first-time buyer)

Joint salary

€100,000

Property purchase price (Dublin)

€450,000

Maximum borrowing (3.5x salary)

€350,000

Deposit

€45,000

Shortfall that could be met with the FHS

€55,000

planning ahead

Example three: Buying a house following a divorce

Sara

Divorced, with no legal interest in her former family home

Salary

€50,000

Property purchase price (Wexford)

€290,000

Maximum borrowing (3.5x salary)

€175,000

Deposit (20%)

€58,000

Shortfall that could be met with the FHS

€57,000

Do I need to pay the equity facility back?

The FHS is not a loan and doesn’t need to be paid back, except in the following circumstances known as mandatory redemption events:

  • the property is sold
  • the property is no longer your Principal Private Residence
  • you move or switch your mortgage to a non-Participating Lender
  • if you die (or, in the case of joint applications, the last applicant dies)

However, you can choose to redeem part or all of the equity facility whenever you like.

What about fees and charges?

Service charges will be applied to your account from the start of year six, as payment to the FHS for services related to the provision, maintenance, and servicing of the equity facility.

Service charges are calculated at the following rates per annum:

Years Service Charge Rate
0-5 0.00%
6-15 1.75%
16-29 2.15%
30+ 2.85%

The service charge rates are fixed for the life of the equity facility.

For more information on the service charge and buying out the equity share, please see our Homebuyers Guide on the Guides/Resources page.

Are you eligible?

Find out in minutes today.

WARNING: We strongly recommend that you seek advice from an independent financial adviser and legal adviser if applying for this product.

WARNING: Property prices can go up and down. As the equity facility is linked to the value of your home, any change in property prices will affect any partial or final redemption amounts. If property prices increase/decrease over time, the percentage equity you have to redeem will remain the same but the € amount will increase/decrease. See example in the case of a price increase below:

Customer purchases a property for €250,000, availing of €25,000 from the First Home Scheme (FHS) which means the FHS has a 10% FHS equity share in your home.

Sometime in the future you decide to buy out the FHS equity share. The home is now valued at €350,000. As the FHS equity share is unchanged at 10%, you will now need €35,000 plus any accrued service charges payable, to redeem the FHS equity share in the home.

WARNING: The First Home Scheme is not regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and the equity product is not governed by the Central Bank and its statutory codes of conduct and/or other regulations to include the Consumer Protection Code.

Therefore, no enforceable consumer protections will apply.

Participating Lenders do not advise or consult with consumers on the Terms & Conditions of the FHS. FHS independently and exclusively manages the administration of the Scheme, and all queries pertaining to the Scheme should be directed to the FHS.