Kilkenny Borough Council is to apply for a €500,000 loan from the Housing Finance Agency in order to act as a lender of last resort for people struggling to buy their own home.
The motion was passed to seek the extra funds at last week’s council meeting. People wishing to own purchase their own homes are increasingly being frustrated by the tightened lending policies of banks and building societies.
Acting Town Clerk Adrian Waldron told the council members that in the recent past, there had been no demand for assistance from prospective homeowners within the Kilkenny borough. At the end of 2011 however, there were two applications from the area, for a total of €200,000.
“For a number of years, there has been no applications lodged for this,” he said.
“But now, towards the end of last year, that has changed. We are applying to the Housing Finance Agency, who are, in effect, our bankers.”
The council will borrow a sum of €500,000 to cover the €200,000 already loaned out, with the remainer to cover any further applications this year. The loan will be repayable within 15 years.
Cllr David Fitzgerald (FG) said that some banking institutions’ advertising about accessible borrowing was ‘more spin than reality’. He said it was a disgrace that people could not access the cash to take advantage of the current good value in the market.
“I welcome the availability of finance,” he said.
“I am very conscious of the fact that the housing market is literally dying on its feet due to a lack of liquidity. There are many people in this city attempting to get onto the property ladder who simply cannot.”
Cllr Paul Cuddihy (FG) also voiced his own criticisms of the banks.
“The banks in short are largely damaged, if not broken,” he said.
“I propose we call on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to set up a state investment bank to move cash in the economy and restore confidence.”
Cllr Malcolm Noonan said that there was a persistent problem in finding housing in the city for single men. He said a new initiative was needed to help this demographic.
“Finding housing for people in this group is particularly challenging,” he said.
“Owners of houses and retail units in the city could upgrage or convert the upstairs of their buildings. It would encourage people to live in the city centre and reinvigorate it, as well as tackling the housing list.”