Seven housing developments have been approved to date by the agency set up earlier this year to fund the construction of new homes, as part of Government measures to address the housing crisis.

A total of 228 housing units have been approved in counties Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Laois, and Clare at a projected cost of €41 million.

It was announced in January that more than 7,500 homes were expected to be built over a five-year period under the scheme, which was set up to help finance commercially viable residential developments.

It is aimed at small and medium-sized developers who have been unable to secure funding from banks or other lenders - with a particular focus on non-urban areas.

In order to receive funding, developers must have secured or submitted planning permission. The borrower must provide a minimum of 20% equity, which can include the value of the site.

The Home Building Finance Ireland agency says more than one hundred expressions of interest in the scheme had been made by the end of June.

Over 30 applications have been received with inquiries ranging from social housing projects to the first-time buyers market.

Nearly 60% of the applications are for the Leinster area, 33% are based in Munster, 6% are for projects in Connaught and 6% in Ulster.

The applications are currently being reviewed by the HBFI.

The agency has up to €750 million available, but can raise further funding if required. 

The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform has said the seven projects are in line with what the Government expected at this point in the existance of HBFI.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Minister Paschal Donohoe said the Government always anticipated that the majority of new homes would be delivered in years 2 and 3 of the project.

He said awareness of HBFI is still low because it is a new organisation, and that they are engaging with builders to make them aware of the ability to fund small projects outside of Dublin.

"We are making loans to companies to build more homes. This is a brand new organisation, and before we lend that money to anybody, we need to make sure we're going to get it back. I think this is part of the answer to the great challenges that we have in the housing market at the moment."