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First-time buyers rush for rebate

More than 800 applications have been made for the new Help-to-Buy scheme for first-time buyers (FTBs).

Interest has remained high since it opened earlier this month, with some 828 FTBs filling out online application forms over the week in the expectation of securing a lucrative tax rebate.

The scheme allows for a refund of income tax and DIRT, but not USC or PRSI, paid over the previous four years which can be put forward towards a deposit to buy a new house or apartment.

Some 5pc of the purchase price to a maximum of €20,000 can be claimed. A price ceiling of €600,000 applies to homes purchased between July 19 and December 31 last. This falls to €500,000 for properties bought this year.