The National Asset Management Agency is to close the 80:20 Deferred Payment Initiative to new entrants from the end of May.

NAMA launched the initiative in 2012 to generate more activity in the Irish housing market.

To date, 224 homes that were included in the initiative have been sold since the launch. 

Buyers in the scheme are protected from price falls of up to 20% for up to five years after purchase.

NAMA's chief executive Brendan McDonagh said that the 80:20 scheme has achieved its objectives. 

"€44m has been generated from the sale of houses included in the 80:20 Initiative. The initiative was only ever intended as a short-term measure to remove the fear of negative equity for buyers at a time when there were few residential property transactions in the Irish market, " Mr McDonagh stated.

He said that feedback from buyers suggests fears of price falls have abated considerably in recent months, with figures from the CSO showing house price rises in Dublin, while prices are stabilising in other parts of the country.

"The fact that buyers are no longer actively seeking protection from price falls is a welcome sign that the housing market is stabilising and returning to more sustainable, normalised conditions," Mr McDonagh said.

The protection available under the scheme will continue to be made available to buyers who sign contracts before the end of May 2014. 

Of the 412 properties made available under this initiative, 224 (54%) have been sold. 33 developments participated across 13 counties in the scheme.