Will help-to-buy scheme fund a rebuild if I demolish a property?

My partner and I are currently looking into grant options that might be applicable to us. We are hoping to buy the house that we are currently living in (my partner’s great grandparent’s house) with the view to demolishing all but the front wall.

My partner is eager to retain that one wall as a keepsake of the three generations that have gone before him but we are intending to completely demolish all other aspects of the house – internal walls, floors, windows, roof etc and build our own home to the highest of current regulations and standards in its place.

You wrote previously about access to help-to-buy for someone who bought a house and demolished it. Do you know if the couple in your article were successful in their application for the scheme?

Have you come across any other cases like ours and do you think we would qualify for the scheme?

Ms D.K., email

You refer to a piece I wrote back in 2017 about a couple who had bought a derelict house an demolished it. The short answer to your question is that I have no idea whether they were successful in their application for help-to-buy but I suspect they were.

You find yourself in much the same position – but not precisely the same – and I am fairly positive that you would not be successful in your application.

This goes to show both how strict and precise the regulations around the scheme are and also how no two cases are ever quite the same.

Help-to-buy was designed to assist first-time buyers in getting on to the housing ladder. It has proved controversial, with critics arguing that it has simply kept prices for new homes artificially high – effectively subsidising property developers rather than helping homebuyers.

Data has also shown that many of those availing of the scheme did not need it per se, though it was no doubt helpful in saving them money. Figures from the Revenue Commissioners earlier this year showed that more than 40 per cent of the first-time homebuyers who had availed of the help-to-buy scheme by that stage already had the necessary deposit in place to secure a mortgage.

Assuming you qualify, you can get a refund of income tax and deposit interest retention tax (Dirt) paid on savings over the past four years up to a maximum of €30,000 or 10 per cent of the price of the property.

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