Working couples need help to get on the property ladder
By Laura Lynott @Ly211
A report that property prices are rising across the country is not welcome news to one young couple who are preparing to move back in with parents in a bid to save around €50,000 for a deposit.
Leanne Owens, 32, and her fiancé Stephen Murray, 29, (pictured) from Tallaght, Co Dublin, have been living together in rented properties for three years – but as rents increase they struggle to save for a deposit to buy a home.
They are now set to take the plunge and moving back in with mum and dad.
Office worker Leanne said: “I talk to people from across the country in my job and a lot seem to think that there is a big boom in Dublin, that everyone is getting big wages.
“But we know the reality is that rent is going through the roof and the belief that everything is going great is not the truth. I don’t know anyone whose wage has gone up.
“And because rent is increasing so much, it means people like us, are not able to save for a deposit and any savings we did have, have dwindled because we are now paying more rent.
“The Government introduced measures to stop landlords increasing rent for two years, but all that did was see a lot of landlords whack up prices immediately.
“For three years we were renting a house for €1,000-euro-a-month in Tallaght but now we are paying €1200 for a two-bed apartment.
“The electricity bills are higher here too – so this has all meant that we’ve gone back to square one.
“That’s why in November we are moving in with my mum and dad.
“We’ve been living on our own for three years and now both of us moving back with my mum and dad at our age, is far from ideal.
“But there’s just no other solution. If we live at home with my parents we can save in two to three years for a deposit – but that could take us up to 10 years in rented property.
“The majority of our wages will go towards saving and we will pay my parents for bills and letting us stay.”
Leanne and her mechanic fiancé said they are “very lucky” to have the support of her parents – and they felt sorry for anyone who did not have parental backing in these “tough times.”
The rental market coupled with the property sector right now in Ireland is “dysfunctional,” she said.
“Rents are climbing and there is no security in rented property. Landlords are throwing people out at the drop of a hat and claiming their relatives are moving in as a loophole so they can up the rent.
“I know people this has happened to. Then people are fighting over buying houses. I believe recently there were 50 houses in a part of county Dublin recently that were being sold off plan and 6,000 couples turned up.
“There’s so much demand for properties that even if you managed to get a house for €240,000, you can bet it will go up in price with people bidding for it.
“It’s not just about saving and buying a home anymore. We are dealing with massive rents preventing us from saving, then other couples outbidding when people get the chance to put an offer in.”
While Leanne and Stephen welcome more social houses being built – they feel the Government is not doing enough to help working couples like them get on the property ladder.
“There is a lot of talk about social housing and council housing, which is great. People need those options too, but a light has not been shone on the fact working couples cannot afford to buy a home.
“There are not enough houses there, so it’s making the whole property sector very dysfunctional.
“The Government must ensure very quickly that new properties are built and to stop saying this is the plan. They actually need to introduce emergency measures now and get builders working.
“This plan to improve the housing problem is too slow and it’s hurting a lot of people.”