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The house hunter’s guide to nabbing a new build with the Help to Buy scheme

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21 Aug 2017

Posted in:  First Time Buyer

Moving into a brand-new house is the dream, isn’t it? You’ll have that new-house smell, all the appliances will be sparkling, and you can decorate it any way you like. If you want a crystal chandelier in the bathroom, nobody is going to stand in your way. Well, except, maybe your other half.

The advantages of buying a new build are obvious. It will meet or exceed the latest energy efficiency standards, there’s no construction needed and you’re not in a chain, so the waiting time to get the keys is less.

The demand for new builds has shot up – but for none of the above reasons. New builds are on the most-wanted list for first time buyers due to the introduction of the new Help to Buy scheme. This gives those buying a home for the first time a 5 percent tax rebate on the price of their new home, up to €20,000.

If you’re availing of the scheme and on the lookout for a new build, you’ve landed in the right place.

Read on for everything you need to know about finding your dream home.

Why is the market so crazy for new builds?

The problem is there just aren’t enough new houses being built in Ireland right now. Although exact figures are not yet available for the number of completed new build houses in Ireland in 2016, it’s estimated that there were only around 12,000 units completed. That’s around half the recommended 25,000 houses that need to be built to supply demand.

The good news is that more and more schemes are coming on the market. The number of buildings started in 2016 (but not yet completed) was up 57 percent on the year before. That means that there should be more properties becoming available in the next couple of years.

But many factors mean it’s harder than ever to get a new home. As outlined, there just aren’t enough houses being built.

Secondly, rents rose for the fifth year in succession, meaning more people want to buy instead of paying rent. The Irish Times even predicts that rents could go up 22–26 percent between now and the end of 2018.

Thirdly, the new Help to Buy scheme only targets new-build houses – so more people than ever want to buy them.

Get online and keep checking

To get your hands on one of the few newly-built houses on the market, there are a few things you can do. An online search of the largest sales site in the country (Daft.ie) will show you the current new build availability in your area.

To get one, you need to be quick. You can try ringing any of the ‘qualified contractors’ who are registered with the Help to Buy scheme. Currently, there are 27 contractors listed, so that means they are going to have new houses coming on the market fit for a first time buyer. If you want to get in contact with those in charge of the scheme, or check your eligibility, create or login to your online Revenue account.

It’s worth contacting each of the contractors individually to see what they have coming on the market, and when.

Ask the tough questions

It’s easy to get carried away with the emotion of going to see a potential new home. But you should check the details too. Check areas prone to flooding to see if it’s on a flood plain. If it is, you probably won’t be able to get it insured.

Check the local authority’s development plan too. This will tell you whether any schools or major developments are coming down the tracks in the area as well as some of the nastier surprises – like if a new waste treatment plant is in the works.

You can also check what minor repairs are included in the house price. There are generally some snags in a new build house, so if there are fixes needed to wall or floor finishes or sanitary ware, it’s good to know you won’t have to pay for it.

Explaining the Help to Buy Scheme

The Help to Buy scheme is pretty handy. It applies to any first-time buyer building their own home – but also to any first time buyer purchasing a newly built house. There are a lot of ins and outs, but in a nutshell, you can claim a tax rebate worth up to €20,000 if you are buying a newly built house. We’ve got the full Help to Buy guide here with all you need to know.

You can only get the full €20,000 if you are a first time buyer who has paid tax in Ireland for the last four years and are buying a house between €400,000 and €500,000. If your new house costs less than that, you can only receive 5 percent of the price back as a rebate. So if your new house costs €300,000 you’ll get €15,000 or if it costs €225,000, you’d get €11,250.

If all of the above doesn’t discourage you, then it is still well worth considering. If you get lucky and find the perfect house for you, our ever-helpful Mortgage Masters will be here to help you every step of the way.

Let us help you along the way

If you’ve managed to find a new-build house that takes your fancy or even just want to talk about your mortgage options – then why not book a mortgage advice meeting? In the meantime, why not check out our guide to the Help to Buy Scheme?

Are you in the market for a new build?

Find out how much you can afford to borrow with our mortgage calculator or book a mortgage meeting to suit you with one of our Mortgage Masters.

There are more tips in our First Time Buyer guide.

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