There have been calls for changes to the rules of the local council Home Loan Scheme to provide money for refurbishing older homes.
The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme lets first time buyers who have been rejected by banks borrow money from the local council at a fixed rate.
This year the city council approved €1.5 million in funding for the Home Loan Scheme to help first time buyers get a foot in the the property ladder.
Borrowers have a 2% fixed interest rate over the lifetime of the mortgage.
But Galway TD Seán Canney said that it’s a “missed opportunity” that the scheme doesn’t provide funding for buyers to carry out refurbishments on second hand houses.
By including refurbishments in the scheme, he said it would encourage buyers to look at vacant houses in need of repair.
“In my capacity as Minister of State with responsibility for Rural Affairs I see that there are many closed up properties in our towns and villages,” said Deputy Canney.
“If the loan scheme was adjusted to include these type of houses we could repopulate town and village centres and bring life back in to the centre.”
According to Seán Canney, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Minister of state for Housing and Urban Development Damien English have both been receptive to the idea.
“I have had discussions with Minister Eoghan Murphy and Damien English. Both Ministers are very interested in broadening the scope of the loan to allow for refurbishment costs to be included in the loan.”
“It makes sense as it will provide young couples with the opportunity to own their own homes and bring vitality back in to our towns and villages.”