What is the Help-to-Buy Scheme?

The Help-to-Buy Scheme (HTB) is an incentive available to first-time buyers of new houses and apartments which assists in paying the deposit in the form of a refund of Income Tax and DIRT paid in the previous 4 years.


You must buy or build the property and live in it as your home to qualify. If a couple is buying a property jointly, they can both avail of the Help-to-Buy Scheme to obtain the maximum amount available, too.

As per the Budget for 2024, an enhanced Help-to-Buy Scheme is available up and until 31st December 2025 to provide up to €30,000 for individuals meeting certain criteria.

The scheme also now allows applicants using the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme to buy their home to be eligible for the Help-to-Buy Scheme. This came into effect on the 11th October 2023.


Who is eligible for the Help-to-Buy Scheme?

Help-to-Buy Scheme

1. Property Ownership Requirements

You must be a first-time buyer of a residential property or self-building between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2025. All individuals buying or building the property must be first-time buyers.

You are ineligible for the scheme if:

  • You have purchased or built a house or apartment previously, by yourself or with someone else. This is also the case if you are separated or divorced from that person and have given up interest in the property.
  • You own or have owned a home outside of Ireland.
  • You don’t intend to live in the property as your main home or at least 5 years after buying or building it [i.e. the scheme is not available for investment property purchases].
  • You have not taken out a mortgage to pay for the property.

If you have been gifted, or inherited a property, you may still be eligible for the Help-to-Buy Scheme, assuming you satisfy the other conditions of the scheme. This must be referred to Revenue.


2. Mortgage Requirements

A mortgage must be taken out with a qualifying lender in order to be eligble, and must be at least 70% of:

  • The purchase value of the property if it’s a new build. If the purchase price is less than the market value, the purchase value will be the market value.
  • The valuation that is approved by your mortgage provider, if self-building. The approved valuation will be from at the time of drawdown.

This is referred to as the Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio. You may have a guranantor on the loan, such as a parent or other close relative, and this person does not have to be a first-time buyer.


Stipulations of Shared Equity Schemes

If you are availing of a shared equity scheme such as the First Home Scheme or the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme, this funding is not attributed to the Loan-to-Value ratio for the HTB Scheme.

Therefore, if your equity funding is so great that your mortgage is not at least 70% of the purchase value (for new-build) or the valuation (for self-builds) you will not be eligible for the HTB Scheme.

3. Tax Requirements

The following requirements must be satisfied to be eligible for the Help-to-Buy scheme:

  • You must be completely tax-compliant for the 4 years immediately before your claim.
  • You must complete your tax returns with Revenue for these 4 years, paying any outstanding taxes due.
  • You must be registered with Revenue’s MyAccount service if you pay tax through PAYE.
  • You must be registered with Revenue’s ROS service, if you are self-assessed.


What is the qualification criteria for the scheme?

Help-to-Buy Scheme

In order to qualify for the scheme, the following qualification criteria must be adhered to:

  • It must be a new residential property that was never used or been suitable for use as a residential property.
  • If buying a new home, the market value must be €500,000 or less.
  • If building your home, the approved valuation must be €500,000 or less. This includes the cost of the site.
  • If buying a new home, the contractor or developer must be approved by Revenue [see list].
  • If building your home, you’ll need a solicitor to verify your HTB claim.
  • You must reside in the property for a minimum of 5 years from the date that it is habitable.

The payment will need to be repaid if you do not live there for 5 years. 


How much can be claimed?

The amount that Revenue will pay is the lesser of the following:

1) €30,000;

2) 10% of the purchase price of the property or;

3) A sum equivalent to a person/s Income Tax and DIRT over the last 4 years.

It should be noted that the maximum sum Revenue will pay towards the deposit for any property irrespective of how many people are buying the property is €30,000.

Budget 2024 provided that the Help-to-Buy Scheme for First Time Buyers will continue until the end of 2025 in its current form.

If you bought your property after 1 January 2017, it must be €500,000 or less to qualify. Second-hand homes are not included in the Help to Buy Scheme.


What are the repayment terms?

The Help-to-Buy Scheme is provided as a refund from income tax or DIRT paid over the last 4 years.

As a result, you will not have to repay any of the Help-to-Buy payment except for certain situations.

In these situations, a clawback will apply. These include:

  • Not living in the home for at least 5 years
  • Not completing the purchase of the home
  • Not finishing building the home [if a self-build]
  • Not having been entitled to the payment in the first place


Learn more about the steps involved with purchasing property.

For more information on the above please contact us at 051-840003 or email info@mwkeller.ie