Property website Daft has seen a 130% surge in searches for property sales following the announcement of the new government help-to-buy scheme, with the greatest spike in searches being from the Dublin area.
The new initiative, aimed to help first time buyers get a foot on the increasingly lucrative property ladder, was announced in the Budget yesterday.
The government has instigated an income tax rebate of up to 5% for new homes valued up to €400,000.
But while some have seen this new incentive as a great way of helping first time buyers get their hands on their first owned home, there has also been criticism and concern over the potential impact it could have on the already swollen rental market.
Joan Collins, deputy of the political party Independents 4 Change, has criticised the help-to-buy scheme, describing it as a conduit for developers and bankers, and voiced fears that it would push up house prices and feather the nests of private landlords.
“What planet are we on? People can’t even access the rents landlords are imposing on them.” Ms Collins said.
Minister for Housing Simon Coveney defended the initiative, claiming that first time buyers would be the sole beneficiaries, increasing the amount of houses bought by first time buyers from the current 25% to a figure closer to the target 50%.
Mr Coveney stressed that the new rebates will apply only to people obtaining mortgages, and won’t benefit cash buyers.
Also included in yesterday’s budget was details of an additional 47,000 social housing units by 2021, to assist the rising numbers of people affected by homelessness.