Northern Ireland

New £19m fund to help first-time house buyers in Northern Ireland

Houses in Belfast
Image caption It is hoped the fund will provide up to 600 homes

A £19m scheme designed to help first-time buyers in the Northern Ireland housing market has been launched.

It is hoped the Affordable Home Loans Fund will provide up to 600 affordable homes across Northern Ireland over the next six years.

Three local housing associations have successfully bid for funding.

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said the scheme was "good news both for the housing market and for Northern Ireland's construction industry".

The first homes released under the scheme are at Mountview Drive in Lisburn, County Antrim.

'Innovative proposals'

The fund is the local application of the UK government's Get Britain Building scheme, which was set up to increase housing supply and support the construction industry.

Housing Minister Nelson McCausland said: "The Affordable Homes Loan Fund represents a £19m scheme which could potentially deliver 600 new affordable homes by 2020.

"Apex, Clanmil and Oaklee housing associations all submitted exciting and innovative proposals that will increase the supply of affordable homes in Northern Ireland, as well as bringing empty homes back into use."

Mr Hamilton added: "The 600 homes provided through this fund will provide an all-important step on to the housing ladder for many people, but will also promote economic growth, helping create and maintain jobs in the construction industry."

The homes made available through the fund will be offered for sale on a shared equity basis, with purchasers buying a starter share and paying an initial low rent on the remaining share.

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