The First Home Scheme (the FHS) is a shared equity scheme, sponsored by the Government of Ireland (Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage) and Participating Lenders. It aims to bridge the gap for first-time buyers and eligible homebuyers between their deposit and mortgage, and the price of a new home within property price ceilings set up across the Republic of Ireland, by local authority area.
The Scheme provides homebuyers with what is known as an equity facility. This means that homebuyers will enter into a contract with the FHS and receive funds from the Scheme in return for the FHS taking a percentage ownership in the property purchased. The percentage ownership that the FHS holds in your home is known as an equity share.
This means that eligible homebuyers will receive funds from the FHS in return for the FHS taking an equity share in the ownership of their property.
Property purchase price = €450,000
Equity share provided by FHS = €45,000 (10% of the property purchase price)
Therefore, FHS will own a 10% equity share in your property, even if the value of the property increases or decreases over time. When you redeem (buy back) the equity share in full, you will own your property outright (100%). If you would like to see more examples of how this works, we have included other examples in our Homebuyers Guide.
The FHS is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) and Participating Lenders, who will provide equity finance to qualifying applicants.
A Participating Lender is an authorised mortgage lender that invests in the First Home Scheme and becomes a shareholder in the properties they help to fund. In order to be eligible for the FHS, you must take out a mortgage with a Participating Lender. At the time of writing, the participating lenders are Allied Irish Banks plc (including AIB, Haven Mortgages, and EBS), Bank of Ireland Group plc, and permanent tsb plc.
If you’re interested in becoming a Participating Lender, you must be a regulated entity authorised to offer mortgage products in the Republic of Ireland. To find out more, please contact us at email@example.com.
A non-Participating Lender is an authorised mortgage lender who is not currently a shareholder in the FHS. If your mortgage application is with a non-Participating Lender, you are not eligible to apply for the FHS.
The FHS can bridge the gap for first-time buyers and other eligible homebuyers who might otherwise not be able to purchase a home, due to insufficient funds when they combine their deposit and mortgage. Subject to eligibility criteria, application assessment, and terms and conditions, it can provide funds up to 30% of the value of the property (or 20% if you use the Help to Buy Scheme).
It is expected the FHS will be available to new homebuyers until 2025. This timeframe may be extended depending on the number of Participating Lenders and the number of applications received.
There are a number of steps that you need to take to apply for the FHS. An Eligibility Certificate does not guarantee funding. If your application is fully approved, with a supporting Mortgage Letter of Offer from a Participating Lender, the FHS issues a Customer Contract to you and funds will be reserved for you while the Customer Contract is valid.