Q: I heard about a new scheme to help First Time Buyers that can’t afford to buy a house. Can you tell me more?


The First Home Scheme is part of the “Housing for all Strategy” and was just launched in partnership between the State and three of the retail banks in Ireland. The aim is to bridge the funding gap for eligible first time buyers (FTB) between their deposit, mortgage and the price of the new home. Homes eligible for the scheme will be subject to area-based price ceilings for houses and apartment based on open market prices. Wexford for example has a cap of €300,000.

The scheme will be available to FTB seeking to purchase a newly built Principle Private Residence in a private development anywhere in the country. The Scheme will be available to eligible First Time Buyers and there will be a limited number of exceptions for non-first time buyers, in accordance with the ‘Fresh Start’ principle announced in ‘Housing for All’.


The Application Process

  1. Visit www.firsthomescheme.ie
  2. Make your application. You’ll need you Mortgage Approval in Principal (AIP)
  3. Receive your Eligibility Cert.
  4. Upload your Mortgage Letter of Offer (LOO) to the system
  5. Your solicitor uploads signed contracts etc. to the system to draw down funds in parallel with you mortgage
I’m hoping to build a house rather than buy. Do I qualify?

No. Self Builds are excluded from the FHS, but this is to be reviewed in 12 months.

Who are considered First Time buyers under the scheme? 
  • A person who has not previously purchased or built a dwelling in the state for his or her occupation 
  • A person that does not own or is not beneficially entitled to an estate or interest in, any dwelling in the state or elsewhere and has a right to reside in the state 
Who will provide the information regarding the scheme and confirm if I’m eligible or not? 

The 3rd party operator BCM will provide the customer with all information required in relation to the scheme and whether the customer is eligible or not. Customer can find out this information on the FHS website.

 How does the Equity Share work? 

The support provided will take the form of a percentage equity share in the home equal to the funding gap between the maximum mortgage available and the cost of a new home however, you can avail of up to 20% equity support to purchase these homes (or max 30% if Help to Buy is not utilised).  

What is the interest rate on the loan? 

The First Home Scheme is not a loan as principal repayments are not required and it is not a regulated product, but there is a service charge after 5yrs as per table below

0 -5  0% 
6 – 15  1.75% 
16 – 29  2.15% 
Year 30+  2.85% 


Can I avail of the Help to Buy Scheme and First Home Scheme at the same time? 

Yes you can avail of up to 30% equity support to purchase these homes. But where a person wishes to avail of the Help to Buy Scheme at the same time they can avail of 20% from the First Home Scheme and 10% from Help to Buy (or max 30% if HTB is not utilised). 


Do I have to have the full 10% deposit in all cases? 

Yes. You must have the 10% deposit and then can avail of up to 30% from FHS which would reduce your LTV with the Bank to 60%. But for second time buyers classed as FTBs under the scheme, they must have a 20% deposit under Bank rules.


This article aims to give information, not advice. Always do your own research and/or seek out advice from a regulated financial broker, before acting on anything contained in this article.

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