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Updated: Aug 15, 2023

The First Home Affordable Purchase Shared Equity Scheme or FHS for short is a shared equity scheme, sponsored by the Government and Participating Lenders. The aim of the scheme is to bridge the gap for first-time buyers and other eligible homebuyers between their deposit and mortgage, and the price of a new home. The main purpose is to assist would-be buyers who are paying high rents and would prefer to be homeowners. The scheme is also available to eligible first-time buyers looking to buy an existing property they are currently renting under the Tenant Home Purchase Scheme.

There is, of course, quite a lot of information you need to understand and criteria to meet to be eligible for the scheme. We look at the top 4 questions we are receiving from mortgage applicants in relation to it.

How does the scheme work?

The Scheme provides homebuyers with what is known as an equity facility. What this means is that the homebuyer will enter into a contract with the FHS. They will receive funds from the Scheme in return for the FHS taking a percentage ownership in the property purchased. The percentage ownership that the FHS holds is known as an equity share.

Am I eligible for the FHS scheme?

As you would expect with a scheme like this, there are strict criteria for eligibility. These include being over 18 years of age, a first-time (or other eligible) buyer, having mortgage approval and a minimum 10% deposit. An applicant must also be purchasing the property as their principal private residence, it must be a newly built house or apartment *and the price must be within the within the property price ceilings based on local authority area.

What charges are applicable to the FHS?

Unlike a mortgage or personal loan, there is no interest payable on the loan for the first five years. From the beginning of your sixth year of ownership of your property, if the equity share is still in place, a charge called the “service charge” will apply. Again, unlike a mortgage or personal loan, these payments are interest only, starting at 1.75% in year six and increasing thereafter.

How much of my property will be funded and when can I buy out the lender?

A minimum equity share of 2.5% of the property price, or €10,000, whichever is higher is required. The maximum you can borrow is 30% of the price of the property. If you are also participating in the Help to Buy scheme for the property, then the maximum is 20% of the property price. The government is loaning you the money and you can buy their percentage out at any stage. If you choose not to buy it out, your loan will be subject to the service charge as outlined above. If you sell the property, rent it or pass away the loan and any outstanding changes must be settled.

For more information on the scheme just visit

We’d love to help you secure your first home. If you’d like to talk to us about your mortgage, just get in touch.

* Except for those purchasing under the Tenant Home Purchase Scheme.

Illustration of group of people looking for a mortgage | Financial Equality Services straightforward, jargon-free and fully inclusive financial advice

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