Mortgages worth €100m have been drawn down as part of the State-backed, Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, according to new figures released to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
Five hundred applicants have drawn down loans under the initiative, which was launched last February.
The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan allows first-time buyers to borrow up to 90% of a property's value from their local authority.
Applicants have to show they have been turned down for mortgage approval by two banks and earnings cannot exceed €50,000 for a single person or €75,000 for a couple.
Figures from councils in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Louth show around half of applicants have been approved so far.
However, some local authorities have reported a significantly lower approval rate. In Cork city only one in five applicants to the scheme have been approved while Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown has approved just 20 loans out of a total of 99 applications.
Dublin City Council is the local authority with the highest rate of acceptance to the scheme. In 2018 it approved 357 loans, a rate of 82%.
A spokesperson for Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said that the average approval rate nationally of 50% was "in line with applications for mortgages of this nature".
The spokesperson added it could be misleading to compare local authorities as recommendations from the Housing Agency, which considers applications centrally, may not be given final approval by councils within the same time frame.
Labour's Housing Spokesperson, Jan O'Sullivan, said it was unfair that borrowers in some parts of the country were waiting longer for approval.
"People who are waiting for these loans really need decisions as quickly as possible. It is just not acceptable that these are left on someone's desk," she said.
Ms O’Sullivan added that the national approval rate of 50% was lower than expected.
"People who apply know what the rules are they would know the income limits. I would have expected a higher figure."
There have been a total of 2,115 applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Louth – 1,039 loans have so far been approved.
The approval rate in Co Limerick was 27%, in contrast, 61% of applicants in Co Louth were successful in their application.
Fingal County Council has the largest number of applications - 503, and 45% of those have been approved.
However, Margaret Geraghty, Director of Housing, said the Council expected that a number of applicants who had been declined would successfully re-apply after working with local authority staff to meet the loan requirements.
"If applicants don't get through the first time, and we know there are issues which can be fixed, we will advise and guide on that.
"Local Authorities lending to first-time buyers is not new. We have been doing it forever. So we have expertise and we are saying to people, come in we are open for business."
The new figures show the average mortgage approval in Dublin City Council is 209,000 while in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown 20 loans have been approved at an average of 231,000.