Good news for Self-Builders!

Minister for Housing Darragh O’ Brien extended the First Home Scheme (the FHS) to cover self-builders who are constructing their first home. The extension of the scheme now enables self-builders, either through direct labour or fixed contractor, to benefit from the financial support being provided through the joint venture of authorised mortgage lenders and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. 

The initiative was originally designed to assist with the financial burden of those purchasing their first newly built house/apartment in private developments and eligible tenants who have received a valid Notice of Termination from their landlord who was selling the property. The FHS is a shared equity scheme where the government and participating banks contribute up to 30% of the cost of a new home in exchange for a stake in the property. Participating banks are AlB, Bank of Ireland, EBS, Haven Mortgages and PTSB. The scheme takes a 10% equity share in the home until the share is redeemed in full. 

Under the Scheme, the equity share will be secured against the property by way of an inhibition which will be duly registered with Tailte Éireann on release of funds. There is no charge for the equity share for the first five years. If the equity share is still in place upon expiry of the five-year period, a service charge will be applied to the applicant for the maintenance of the FHS. The charge is payable on the outstanding amount owed to the scheme. The rates per annum are noted as follows: 

  • 1.75% for year six to year 15 
  • 2.15% for year 16 - year 29 
  • 2.85% for year 30+ 

These rates are fixed for the life of the equity facility.

Full repayment of the equity share along with any service charges accrued, will be required if the property is sold, is no longer the Principal Private Residence, the applicant switches to a non-participating lender, or the homeowner dies. Prior to a redemption quote being provided a valuation report from an approved valuer must be submitted. Once the equity share has been discharged in full the inhibition registered against the Property can be released. 

The extension is a welcome boost for the self-build community which will have two years to complete their self-build from the date the FHS equity facility is drawn down.  

Key points to note:  

Eligibility: To qualify, applicants must not have owned, either individually or jointly any residential property, whether in Ireland or aboard. Exceptions can be made for people who have previously owned a property but experienced insolvency or a relationship/family breakdown.

Price Ceilings: The purchase price of your property or self-build cost must be below the property price ceiling for the local authority area in which the property is located. These ceilings are subject to review by the FHS and can be found on the FHS website (Property Price Ceilings (

Maximum Rebate: The rebate is set at a maximum of 10% of the purchase price of the property or €30,000, whichever is lower. 

Income Tax: The rebate is based on the income tax paid by the respective applicant(s) in the four years proceeding their build or purchase.

First time buyers availing of the FHS can also avail of the Help to Buy Scheme (HTB). However, the maximum amount that the first-time buyer will be eligible for from the FHS will be 20% of the purchase price/build cost. 

Applicants can register and submit their application online through First Home Scheme website: (

If you have any queries on this, or any property law matter, please contact Mary-Louise O'Hagan or a member of the team at OSM Partners LLP