THIS WEEK, WE asked our readers to share their housing stories.
We wanted to take a snapshot of housing in 2021 – what sort of situations people live in; how they got where they are; what issues they experienced and what barriers they have faced.
Housing has been an ongoing issue for Ireland over the decades, and this year more than ever the fractures in housing supply have become apparent.
What we discovered from our callout was that people have not felt heard. A common line in the emails we received was ‘thank you’ – people were grateful to get their chance to tell their story.
You will read stories from people who have just moved here from abroad; people wondering should they move abroad; long-term renters who can’t move on; buyers who have hit snags and legal issues.
What the stories show is that we need to move away from the presumptions and stereotypes around housing in Ireland. There are clearly issues for many in finding affordable homes – not just families or couples.
Many of the people who wrote to us feel unsupported by the government and afraid for their future. Yet there are others, too, who feel lucky and are living in their dream home.
Here are their stories:
‘I was given a 100% mortgage – and a €20k loan’
“I moved to Sligo and a year later I decided to see if I could get a mortgage to buy a house. I was confident the bank would say no as I had no savings at all! BOI said no problem and handed me a 100% mortgage there and then. I hesitated, said no point me taking a mortgage as I had no savings to decorate a new house, buy furniture etc. BOI said no problem, here is a loan for €20k on top of the 100% mortgage!
“By 2009, I was in serious trouble trying to pay back the mortgage, loan and a credit card. BOI extended my loan to clear the credit card which was then cancelled. In 2013, following the recession I had to move to another county for work, so I rented out the house in Sligo and rented a room the new county. The rent in Sligo didn’t cover the mortgage so I was paying rent and into the mortgage.
“In the 8 years I lived in the other county, there was no way I could afford to rent on my own, or have any thought of another mortgage – the Sligo house was still in negative equity. The eight years of living in a house share was hell. The Covid pandemic had a silver lining for me. The company I work for has adopted a flexible working policy and I was able to move back to the Sligo house.
“But I know I am one of the very lucky ones.”
‘I feel very let down by the government’
“I’m married with children. Long-term renting. Currently paying €2,500 per month in rent. No affordable houses to buy. I’ve contacted countless politicians over the years and no one has ever replied to me.
“I’m 46 and my children have moved countless times over the years. Feel very let down by the government.”
Keith: ‘We feel trapped’
“Myself and my wife are in our thirties and have been in private rental accommodation at the same property for over a decade. I’m on around €25K a year through long term employment and my wife is on Disability Allowance of €90 a week.
“When we first moved in in 2010 the rent was €600. This was increased to €800 in 2018. It has never included any kind of utilities. I consider us luckier than a lot of people since we were approved for HAP in late 2020 (we were approved for the council housing list but told the wait would be very long so HAP would suit us more) which brings our rent payments down to around €340 a month.
“We feel trapped nonetheless as the income limits for mortgages pretty much mean we can never get a house on my income, even though we’re able to manage any repayments given we’ve been renting for so long and have enough savings for a deposit.
“I feel something has to be done to enable low income households to be able to buy a house. ”
James: ‘We’ve been priced out of Dublin and Wicklow’
“I am a public servant and my partner is in education. We’re in our forties and have rented all our lives, and are finally able to buy due to a promotion I got, which allowed us to accelerate our paltry savings.
“The ex-council houses in the Dublin suburb I’m from are now €400k, so we started looking at Wicklow only to find ourselves priced out of there too. Now we’re looking at Wexford.
“Public housing sell-off was the worst thing that ever happened here, it created an explosion in house values that successive subsequent governments have nurtured instead of providing a framework to allow people to provide for their pensions that doesn’t involve ever-increasing inflation of residential property prices.
“This policy will remake the old landlord and tenant classes in this country. We need to make housing a right, not a retirement nest-egg. I would happily watch the value of whatever house we buy decrease to achieve this, it’s the right thing to do as a society.”
Daniel: ‘This was my last chance to buy a reasonably priced house’
“At the beginning of 2020 I found a lovely house tucked away in West Cork for a reasonable price, very close to my job, had enough money to buy it. The seller accepted my offer but then the trouble started. There were several boundary issues, Covid had just arrived so the surveyor stopped working, the solicitors were just getting used to working from home and there was very little being done to progress the sale all throughout the lockdown.
“After about a year of dilly-dallying it transpired that there were two people with a right of residence to this property and these proved impossible to remove. While trying to buy the place I moved into three different short-term rentals hoping it would be sorted soon. About halfway through I had given up and pulled out, the seller contacted me assuring me they were going to solve the problems so I gave them another chance.
“Then eventually the seller pulled out and quickly re-advertised the property for an additional €50,000 but soon removed the ad. The house still hasn’t been sold, boundary and title issues still unresolved. Prices in the area have sky-rocketed since working from home became a thing.
“Looks like this was my last chance at buying a reasonably-priced house in West Cork until the next recession.”
‘I consider our situation to be extremely lucky’
“Myself and my partner are both in our mid-30s. We bought our house initially in Dublin 13 back in 2014, a relatively run-down rental property, for €250,000. We renovated the property, extending it, landscaping the gardens and improving the BER.
“By January 2020, our financial circumstances had changed favourably and we decided to go back to the market, look at properties in a more desirable location. We were thinking long-term and that the ‘new house’ would be the forever home.
“We placed our property on the market with an asking price of €360,000. We had several bidders engaging with our estate agent via virtual viewings, to the point where two / three bidders refused to be outbid. We took a decision to engage with the bidders directly, allowing them to view our property for 15 minutes at a time where we were not present in the property. We secured a buyer. The final sale agreed price was €427,000, far exceeding our expectations but a reflection of the market today.
“At the same time, we secured another older property in Dublin 5. We had no issues with our buying process as the transaction was completed via our own selling agent who was dealing with the vendor of the new property. We paid the asking price of €595,000.
“I consider our situation to be extremely lucky. You hear that trading up is incredibly stressful, but in the current market I think it can work to your advantage, particularly where you are working with an agent who has properties for sale where you want to buy.
“One misconception is that vendors are driving prices upwards but, from our viewpoint, it was the buyers who drove up the price due to lack of supply. The whole market needs urgent and serious regulation by government – it makes absolutely no sense at the moment.
Our purchasing budget was in the region of €650,000 and we quickly realised that we would even struggle in a bidding war at that level, which may sound shocking to some readers.
Jonathan: ‘Homes are out of my mortgage limit – so I’m going to move to the Middle East and save’
“I’m currently working as a public service employee on 55k. I moved home to my parents’ house a few years ago to save for a mortgage. I was renting five years previously.
“I have a €30k deposit however both housing and apartment prices in Dublin are beyond my mortgage limit with the average house price over 350k. My social, family and work life is in Dublin. I do not believe I should be forced to move further away due to housing costs.
“With the current market and lack of leadership from government to address the situation in the short term I do not envisage this problem resolving for at least another 10 years (if ever). My plan now is to enjoy the rest of my 30s with a plan to migrate to the Middle East at 40. My current role will secure me 90k per annum tax free job. I hope to save a substantial amount of that (€50k) and return within five years hopefully with enough to pay for the majority of the cost of a house with the remainder from a mortgage or loan.
“This is not ideal, with my preference to stay in Dublin, but I need security for the future.”
‘I’m two months into repaying my mortgage, with no house to show for it’
“I am 39, single and a first-time buyer. Having finally saved up and secured mortgage approval, I went sale agreed on a second-hand house last summer. The sale has been fraught with delays and false horizons and it was six months before the vendor finally signed the contracts.
“My solicitor drew down my mortgage and, shortly after, it transpired that the vendors had not been making repayments on their mortgage with a vulture fund who then intervened and have been frustrating the sale since. I am now two months into repaying my mortgage with no house to show for it and facing the prospect of having to return my loan to my lender and start from scratch in a much less favourable market, not to mention my losses of around €5k in legal fees etc. I have also given up my lease and have moved home ‘temporarily’.
“I don’t understand why purchasers have so few rights – if I had breached the contract the vendors would have been entitled to keep my €30k deposit; all I seem to have is the right to a lengthy and costly pursuit of them for my costs in the district court.”
Dave: ‘We bought during the boom’
“My wife and I bought an apartment in suburban Dublin in late 2007 at the height of the property boom. We have been living there since and saving to move to a larger house. The price of the property has never come back to its original purchase price. If we sold now we would still be down 100k from what we paid.
“Considering we have been there 14 years paying the mortgage, if we sold now we would probably walk away with a small debt. We are nearly there with a 20% deposit for a larger property but had our eye on a specific development as our kids are in school and sport clubs in this area and the price for us was doable. That’s gone now as all of these new properties have been bought by a fund.
“We have bad experiences with these funds. A fund has bought the properties beside us and they are all in disrepair. The tenants are paying top rents but don’t care about the upkeep of them and from the rents they are paying I wouldn’t blame them. ”
‘We’re self-employed – our mortgage approval dropped to €147k’
“In 2011 my partner and I put a deposit down on a house which fell through. We decided to rent in the area while we waited for another house in our budget to go on the market. The following year my husband was made redundant. Now with both of us self employed, we had to restart the mortgage application process again.
“We managed to hang on to our deposit and eventually after three years reapplied. Now with two babies and both of us self employed our mortgage approval dropped to €147,000 – despite the rent we’d been paying for the last number of years being more than the mortgage repayment.
“Last year I applied for the affordable housing scheme and was approved in principle. Houses recently came up in our area. When I applied again, I was told as we both work in live events and had availed of the PUP payment we were no longer eligible. We’d killed ourselves using our combined PUP payments to cover our rent terrified of ruining our credit rating. We were told to reapply when we had two full calendar years of wage subsidy free income.
“If we are back to normal by next January we are eligible to reapply for the scheme again in 2025.”
‘As a single person, I’m very limited with what I can buy’
“I’m a single teacher in my mid-30s trying to save a deposit for a house. I’m renting in Kilkenny. I’m lucky that I am house-sharing in lovely accommodation but I would love to buy my own place in Kilkenny, ideally a new build so that I can avail of the help to buy scheme.
“Unfortunately as a single person I am very limited with what I can buy and the cheapest new builds in Kilkenny are €350,000, which is over €150,000 outside my budget.”
It’s very frustrating that the housing market in Ireland is geared towards couples. It seems like single people are very much at a disadvantage, especially if you want to buy in the likes of Kilkenny.
Nathalie: ‘There can be such stigma around renting’
“I’m a long-term renter, and before my now husband and I moved in together, he had been living with his parents. I find it frustrating that the housing crisis narrative so often focuses on home ownership as the ultimate goal. I’ve always strived to make wherever we live a home, but there can be such stigma around renting versus owning.
“My husband and I both picked creative careers; we appreciate that we’re not as attractive mortgage candidates as people in more stable professions and that it means we may need to rent to stay in the area where we want to live and where we’d like our son to grow up.
“And while we’re okay with that, we’ve experienced having to clear out of our rental home with just a few week’s notice, and the gut-wrenching stress of scrambling to find a new place to live.
“Why can’t we incentivise long-term leases? Allow people to feel secure that their rental house would be their home – that they won’t be forced to make their kids change schools because their house is being sold or turned into an Airbnb. Allow renters to make our home feel like us – let us use our own furniture, let us paint, update and improve our homes without fear of losing our security deposit. It’s a model that works in so many European cities, I don’t know why it can’t work here.”
Daniel: ‘We can’t compete with investment funds’
“Myself and my partner are young professionals in well-paid jobs. We got outbid on a three-bed duplex in south Dublin in the last few weeks. It was newly built in 2018 and sold for €505,000.
“Asking price this February was €625,000 (28% increase in three years no work done to it). It went sale agreed to a cash buyer for €650,000. We can’t compete with these investment funds!”
“Myself and my boyfriend are both 30 years old – we have good jobs in the creative industry earning a combined income of 110k. We save about €1500 a month.
“My father died a few years ago and I got a small sum of money – I always thought this would be a big help. We have on top of that saved approx €30k ourselves and now have about €42k for a deposit. We want to live in Dublin, we are born and bred here.
“When we went for mortgage approval we had to jump through hoops as our field of work is fixed contract based meaning we get rolling year contracts – obviously, with this, we are seen as potentially a liability – despite never having been unemployed since we started after college.
“We house shared for years but being 30 now and the working from home situation we decided to get our own place – we overnight increased our rent by €1000. We were informed where we moved into used to be an Airbnb pre-covid.
“Last year when we were in the stages for mortgage approval we were approved for 3.5 times our salary as no exceptions are being made on mortgages – we had very limited places to apply to because of our contracts and it wasn’t a great rate offered. We had €380k approved + the €42k saved so €425k.
“Every house we bid on starting at 365+ went for well over 400k – we were told we needed proof of finances to see properties. One house we went into had a rats nest in the back, one place we needed a hard hat from falling roof. ‘Potential’, we were told.
“Why should we have to move out of Dublin and leave our families despite us working 9-5 and paying huge tax bills per month?
“We decided to rent to clear our heads – we are considering moving abroad now. It isn’t even the ‘owning a house’ status I am obsessed with – it is paying these huge rents, no stability or lease contracts lasting over a year and paying someone else’s mortgage.
“We stepped into college during the recession, came out at peak to a limited job market – saved, paid our way and declared any supplemental income, for what?
I love this city but it has no place for people like us anymore.
Brian: ‘I often have to move home due to rent increases’
“I’m 34 and I’ve been working full time since I left school. I’ve been renting all my life living with friends in the same situation as me. We cannot afford to save for a house while paying rent.
“I often have to move home as the rent increases every two years and I feel like I can never settle down. I met my partner two years ago who is 35 and also lives in a house share. We are considering moving country to get a home as the outlook here is so grim it is unbearable.
“I see no future here despite paying taxes all my life and everything keeps getting more expensive. Out of a circle of about 20 friends only two have mortgages and we’re all in the 29 – 35 age bracket. The constant thought of being evicted and having to look to rent somewhere else hangs over my head every time I get an email or a call from my landlord.
“Why won’t this government help us…”
‘I was homeless and on HAP – now I’m facing homelessness again’
“I came into my present accommodation from homelessness, in 2016. Homeless HAP was a great help to me at the time. Since moving in I have always paid my rent on time and have been a good tenant.
“Now my landlord is planning to sell the property and so I have been looking for a new flat. In Dublin it’s extremely expensive and landlords are very reluctant to accept HAP. This is usually because they are not registered and are trying to avoid taxes and inspection of their properties.
“I have been on Dublin City Council housing waiting list for six years and am still at position 115. The over reliance on private rentals means that tenure is insecure and greedy, unscrupulous landlords can act with impunity.
“I am a HAP tenant, but I am also a responsible person trying to secure a decent place to live. I am on a Disability Allowance and am once again facing the possibility of homelessness due to the discrimination against HAP applicants.”
‘House prices have almost doubled since we moved in’
“Myself and my partner have lived in a rented house in the city centre for six years. We want to buy in our area and be in 15-minute walking distance to the city centre as we are now, so we’ve been keeping an eye on houses around the Liberties/Blackpitts/the Tenters for years.
“Despite both working in well paid tech jobs that allow us to save and pay our rent that luckily has been relatively stable, it’s difficult to see us being able to afford any house that we could make our long-term home.
The house prices in this area have almost doubled since we moved in and currently any house we see coming up for €350k – 400k in our area is either tiny, in terrible condition or intentionally priced low to get people’s attention before the price rockets up or a bidding war breaks out.
“We are incredibly lucky to be in the position we’re in both with our rent and our jobs, but even for us it seems impossible to imagine owning a small home with the potential room to start a family anywhere in the area we live, even though just six years ago that goal seemed eminently achievable if we saved our deposit (when we moved here we thought 250k – 300k max would be what we should spend on a house).
“At this stage we’re considering going back to my partners home country even though we want to stay here in Dublin.
“As someone in my early 30s who saw so many people just a few years older than myself get caught in the crash only a decade ago, I’m wary of paying an inflated value for a house, and don’t want to be left in the situation so many people were in, if the market goes bust again.”
Adam: ‘We’re working and renting – but finding it hard to get a mortgage’
“Together with my wife we arrived to Ireland in 2007 and since then we are renting from private landlords. As there was problem with accommodation for my wife’s parents we bought a house in Poland, which currently, as we were thinking to buy something in Ireland to stop paying rent is putting us as second time buyers. This is increasing the deposit amount we have to put together.
“Also, even though we are both working and paying big rent we won’t get a mortgage as we have two children. We looked for a house where we will have to pay nearly three times less on a monthly basis than now we are paying for rent.
“As long as we could afford to pay for rent we will stay in Ireland otherwise we will need to leave.
The government was trying to stop the increase in rent prices, but there is not many properties to be rent so the landlords are still doing what they want. I’m happy that I have a landlord which doesn’t increase my rent all the time, but I know many people who were told you have to pay more or you have to leave.”
‘I want to live in an apartment – not a house’
“I’m an apartment dweller who doesn’t want to live in a house. I’m a 49-year-old born and bred in Dublin, engaged to my partner and renting in Dun Laoghaire a two-bed apartment. One of very few places that are pet friendly, so we pay €2250 a month as a result. We dislike that Irish apartments are all furnished, so can’t make like a home.
“We’re thinking about buying, but at €400k budget, Irish property is such poor value for money in terms of quality and availability.
Our thoughts are of keeping money for cash buying in Cyprus, Greece, Poland where a new two-bed apartment in eg central Poznan costs €85k. We would rent it out and then retire to it.
‘We moved house but now we don’t like our neighbours’
“Our story starts thankfully with good jobs, earning approximately €60-65k between us both (before tax). We were lucky to live with parents and pay a small rent there.
“My partner ended up moving in with me and my parents and paying rent there too, due to his job. We then started trying for a family and not thinking we would be lucky so quickly, panic stations kicked in to get a home. We were saving between €500-600 per month before we got pregnant, then we upped the payments to about €800 between us in late 2019.
“We could not believe our luck and we were granted in principle within the week.
“Now due to the housing shortage there was only one local estate where we could buy and get the help to buy scheme which was 5% at the time and we were able to claim between 11-12k. We put a deposit down on the house in September and then got the keys on the first Thursday of lockdown. Our newborn was less than a month old, otherwise the sale would have fallen through as I would have been on maternity leave and the bank would have asked for updated bank slips.
“We moved in a month after getting the keys. Now, we have a social house beside us who moved in in December 2020 and we have nothing but headaches. It is making us dislike the house now when we loved where we lived and was a nice quiet area until December.
“We don’t know where to start now if we want to move house due to these neighbours. It is hard to find a few thousand when paying a mortgage and raising a family.”
‘Second-time buyers like us are left in an awful situation’
“I am profoundly deaf, and married with children. We moved up to Newbridge, Kildare in 2010. We bought a council house in Listowel, Co Kerry. My husband’s job was transferred to Dublin. My children needed to go to deaf schooling in Dublin for post-primary. Since 2010, we have been renting, we are still renting and paying mortgage for our Kerry house.
“We been trying all banks, affordable housing scheme, we have been refused. In our situation, we have no choices but to continue renting with very high price in Newbridge. We couldn’t sell our Kerry house because we would be in the minus equity.
“So we rent our Kerry house, the rent is very low in Listowel which left us to pay extra for the mortgage and rent in Newbridge. So, we couldn’t sell our Kerry house. We are living fearful because the rent keeps going up. We really want to buy our own home in Newbridge. I feel the second-time buyers are left in an awful situation like ours for a reason that is so unfair.”
‘We have pretty much accepted that our family is unlikely to own a home’
“Myself and my partner are in our forties with one child. We have never owned any property. We are renting our current home for the last six years, the rent is €1200 per month. We have never missed a payment or been late paying our rent.
“I work full-time and my partner part-time, together we earn a combined annual salary of €55,000 before taxes. Over the years we have managed to save almost €50,000 for a deposit. With the bank lending only 3.5 our combined income we could only get a mortgage for €192,500 max, plus our deposit, this is well under the price of any house in our area, which we want to stay in because our child loves the school they are in.
“I feel we are running out of time, even though we continue to scrimp and save, the older we get the harder it will be to find a bank to lend to us. We have pretty much accepted that we are likely never to own our own home. We’ve stopped looking online, it’s too depressing.
“Our dream is to buy a little piece of land and build a small eco home. This now feels completely out of reach.”
‘The odds are stacked against single buyers’
“I’m a single person attempting the impossible task of buying solo in Dublin. I’m 35 and I have a good permanent public sector job. I’ve rented in Dublin for the last seven years. I am ‘lucky’ that my rent is reasonable compared to some. So it’s allowed me build a deposit. However, I live with three others in a house share and I’ve reached the point where I want my own space.
“I got my mortgage approval in January. But despite earning nearly 30 grand over the average industrial wage, I haven’t been able to buy. I’m from Dublin, I work in Dublin, live in Dublin; my life is here. Yet it’s looking like I can barely even afford an apartment here. New builds and therefore the HTB is out of my budget.
“New build apartments aren’t for sale because they are being bought by REIT. It’s so frustrating to see investors buying up whole estates/apartment blocks. I can’t compete with cash buyers or investors with the ability to pay way over the odds. I also earn too much to qualify for the Rebuilding Ireland scheme. My parents have said they will try help me bump up my deposit but they shouldn’t have to. I’ve done everything in my control and it’s still not enough.
“The media focus is mainly on families with children but the odds are stacked against single buyers so much more. I won’t have a family until my housing situation is more secure – so that part of my life is on hold for the foreseeable.”
‘We were told it’ll be another two years before our mortgage is approved’
“My husband and I returned to Ireland, after six years abroad, in March 2020 with our son. My husband started a job the week we got back and I started work in the autumn. We are both on contracts, as is very common in our industries.
“We stay half the week at each of our parents’ houses because they very kindly share childcare of our son while we work during the week. Because of moving back in with our parents and not having to pay for childcare, we have been able to save a sizeable amount and went to apply for an 80% mortgage last month.
But were told unless one of us gets made permanent we will have to wait a further two years before we’ll get approved.
“This means we are now looking to rent and will be paying twice what we would have paid in monthly mortgage repayments to a landlord.”
‘I lived in hostels for two years’
“I am a mature student in the West of Ireland and I am living rent-free with my mother.
“I am six years on the local authority list and I am in line for a one-bedroom apartment from the city council.
“Previously I lived in hostels for over two years. Last year I rented and it was an awful experience as I had no job but I stayed there for college funding reasons.”
‘We are mortgage prisoners’
“In 2005 we bought our first home, 80km south of where we’d lived and worked for the previous five years to buy something we could afford. We mortgaged to the max. We commuted for as long as we could, then I stopped working to look after our children – the cost of childcare was too high for me to remain in work.
“We’ve struggled, and been told by the bank that they will sell the house from under us in the past, as we tried to keep our heads above water. Nowadays, we’re in a better position, through hard work and determination, but we are now mortgage prisoners.
“We bought our property for €318,000 in 2005 and, later that year, took out a loan to clear unsecured debts, topping it up to €360,000. The bank was more than happy to value the property at this price. 14 years later, last year, in an attempt to bring down our mortgage rate of over 4%, we had our property valued by ‘one of the bank’s panel’.
“We hoped, with all the work we’d struggled to do to the house, and every spare cent that we’d recently sunk into the mortgage, bringing it down to €270,000, that it might now be valued at €300,000. No such luck. €245,000 was the valuer’s decision, so we’re stuck with one of the highest mortgage rates in Europe, still deemed to be in negative equity, and no hope of bringing down our mortgage value, and our rate, any time soon, even when we overpay as often as we can.
“How can banks decide the value of your property when they loan against it, and then ensure it’s valued another way once they have you locked into a mortgage?”
Our advice to our kids will be to never buy. If it’s too expensive to rent in Ireland, leave and take your skills and education with you.
Cillian: ‘There is basically nothing I can get in Dublin for €220k’
“I’m in my twenties and moved to Dublin to work three years ago. I am currently renting near the city with five others. The rent is €4350 a month, of which I pay €750.
“I’ve been looking at buying a house for over a year now as my mortgage payment would only be marginally higher than what I am currently paying in rent, and I would be hoping to rent out a second bedroom under the ‘rent a room scheme’ which would significantly reduce my mortgage payment.
“I’ve got approval in principle for €185,500 mortgage and I have saved €35,500 as a deposit over the past three years. A total buying power of around €220,000. As I’m sure you know, there is basically nothing in Dublin I can get for this.
“My only hope would be to avail of an exemption from the mortgage lending rules which would push my buying power to around €275,000. The range of houses I would be looking at are all around the €290,000 to €300,000 which is basically the baseline for a house in Dublin and the quality is generally very poor.
“I have been to look at two houses both of which sold for about €15-20k over asking which is just too far outside my budget.”
I am starting to think I should just give up looking now but paying €9,000 a year in rent with nothing to show for it at the end is just sickening.
Luke: ‘There was mould, and insects coming out of the walls’
“I’m a student and lived in an apartment block owned by IRES REIT for a year. Me and my girlfriend lived in the apartment block for a year and as soon as we moved in there were problems with damp.
“We brought it to the attention of IRES REIT, the apartment maintenance company, even sent a report about it to the RTB. Nothing was ever done and we moved out at the end of the lease due to black mould spreading across the walls, insects coming out from behind skirting boards, just horrible stuff that made the whole experience of living there unlivable.
“The rent for this place was over €1300 a month, not including bills. The only consolation was that we didn’t have to fight to get the deposit back. We were both working as well and found it extremely difficult to get by during this time. The fact the apartment being full of mould while living there made paying so much left such a sour taste in my mouth.”
Aisling: ‘I drove by and realised someone else was living in the house’
“In 2008 I put a deposit on a house in Co Kildare but then the old affordable housing scheme made property available in in Co Wicklow. I put down the deposit and had the snag list done – then when driving by realised somebody was living in the house. So another house in the same development was offered.
“My solicitor was waiting for contracts which never came but I was allowed move into the house. I then had to fight for years to be allowed pay rent. It has subsequently been discovered the building were so structurally unsound they could not sell them.
“I was moved out in 2019 so work could be done on my house and two years later am still in a very unsuitable property. In January I was offered a different house which was perfect for me. I had a builder call the day before Patrick’s day to say the house was given to somebody else.
“I have a deposit and approval and want to hand back the council house, but I am limited to second-hand houses to fix up which the help to buy scheme won’t help.”
‘I’m lucky – I got an affordable house. The Government must replicate this scheme’
“I am one of the lucky ones to get an actual affordable house from the O’Cualann group in Poppintree in Ballymun. I paid €178k for a three-bed house, and my mortgage is less than €700pm. The house is A2 rated and less than 20 mins to city centre. O’Cualann still made a profit on this.
“If O’Cualann with Government support can do this then the Government MUST replicate this and similar schemes across the country at scale. Affordable housing would be the number 1 vote getter in every constituency in the country.
“Everyone is entitled to aspire to be a homeowner and it shouldn’t be a pipe dream. I am very aware of how lucky I am to be in my own affordable house but it shouldn’t come down to luck, it should be Government policy for all its citizens.”
‘I don’t know anyone who bought a house without a gift or inheritance’
“I moved to Dublin in 2012, paying €700 a month for a one-bed apartment in the city centre. Here I am a decade later, in my 30s, paying €1000 a month for a single room in a shared apartment.
“Throughout that time, I have been saving assiduously, living far from extravagantly, have accrued absolutely zero personal debt, and have completed two degrees off my own back allowing me to secure a really, really good job with excellent pay and benefits.
“I still have absolutely no chance of buying a house in Dublin. Literally no chance. Even getting a 10% deposit together for an entry-level apartment is beyond me given how much I have to spend on rent. Shared equity and help to buy schemes are no use to me because I’m single.
“How can I be in the top percentage of earners of my age, have saved a good amount from every paycheck for a decade, have no long-term financial liabilities and still be nowhere near home ownership? How is this not a system failure?
“I do not know one person my age who has bought a house (or even rented anywhere more upmarket than a literal bedsit!) without a large gift/inheritance from parents. I don’t begrudge those people what they have been given, but the system can’t be set up like this.
“The fact that marriage or wealthy parents or both are necessary ingredients in getting secure property in Dublin is a genuinely psychologically damaging weight. There is no conceivable route out of it. I will be renting until I emigrate, retire (at which point my State pension won’t cover my rent so I’ll presumably be made homeless) or die.”
‘I live in a log cabin in my parents’ back garden’
“I am a 32-year-old single female and work as a nurse. I’ve worked in Dublin since I was 22, and bounced from rental to rental for almost 10 years. Landlords used any excuse to get new tenants every year. Absolute lies I was told:
“Then low and behold the property would be up within three months for rent again and the cost up by €200 or €300. Thankfully in 2020 I got a new job and I could move back home. I had zero savings to my name.
“I was financially forced to live with my parents for eight months while I decided what to do. I was very lucky to have understanding parents and they let me build a very small log cabin in their back garden at the end of 2020.
“No bank will give loans to build a log cabin. It’s deemed a self build and if you don’t have planning permission, it’s a no go. I had to be very creative in getting €35,000 to build my one-bed log cabin. Now I am very happy residing in my tiny house. I know it’s not ideal, I am at my parents’ back door and I have the bare minimal privacy but it’s my own space. And in five years’ time, I will have paid off my ‘little mortgage’.
I cannot see myself ever buying a house. I just cannot afford it. And after 10 years of sharing with strangers I never want to do that again.
Matt: ‘We got a house through sheer luck’
“I’ll preface this by saying that myself and my wife are in a stronger position than most first time buyers, with a well paid steady job (single income, wife is a freelancer) and a parent who has helped us out with the deposit.
“We moved back from central Europe 18 months ago looking to settle in Dublin. We did our homework regarding budgeting for a house. We applied for a mortgage in July, and we got approval for 3.5x salary, giving us a budget of around €350k to get a decent house.
“When we started looking, quite a few of the houses needed extensive renovation work. We didn’t have enough in our budget for this, nor did we have enough to win the bidding wars we always encountered.
“We finally did find a place to live that’s amenable to us, and we have done this through sheer luck. We were approved for a 4x salary mortgage and snapped up a sale that fell through.
“Although we are the lucky ones, it has still been a struggle, and we have paid over €30k in rent since we moved home!”
David: ‘The bank wouldn’t recognise my wife’s shift allowance’
‘We’re a married couple in our 30s transitioning from renters to first time buyers. We have been renting the same place in D20 for the past six years and just signed contracts to purchase a new build three-bed house in another part of the area.
“We both work full time in relatively well paid jobs. The major issue other than availability we had was the bank not recognising my wife’s shift allowance when calculating our salary even though it is guaranteed and been consistent.
“The allowance is 9k which in terms of a mortgage is about 32k less than they were willing to lend. We decided to get the head down and save for another year as a result or we would have been priced out of any new build developments in Dublin.
“We were open to pre-owned homes but found that across the board, the initial asking price versus the eventual selling price was so far removed that it was impossible to know if a home was within our budget until you were quite a long way down the road of trying to buy it!
“We had been liaising with the selling agent of the new development for six months waiting for the next phase to open. When it did, it was a virtual launch that meant we had to await an email to tell us to register for a place in the queue. There were only about 20 houses in this phase so our success was going to come down to if we were quick enough to spot that one email coming in and then respond to it quickly enough.
“Luckily we did and secured a house the next day but there would have many who did not. The house is due to be built by Q4 2021/Q1 2022. By then, it will have been two years since we first applied for a mortgage.”
Cillian: ‘I bought a house needing full renovation for €135k’
“I am a 27-year-old from the mid west, I rented in Galway for almost 10 years between college and working. Due to travel with work I no longer needed to be in Galway and decided I would move home, a large town in the mid west, and buy a house.
“In 2017 I had decided to start really saving for a house, in the knowledge that as a single person I would never be able to afford to buy a new build as I earn €35,000. The cheapest new builds in my home town are at least €270,000
“I applied for a mortgage last May, I am lucky to have worked the whole way through the pandemic, and I started to house hunt. Last October I bought a 110-year-old, 3-bed terrace house in need of near full renovation for €132,000.
“I have spent the last seven months of weekends and holidays DIY renovating the house, directly hiring an electrician, plumber and plasterer. I am still not moved in as I have spent all money and have to wait until my next paycheck to complete the next items. Hopefully I will move in some point during the summer.”
‘I’m 54 and renting’
I’m 54, single, and renting. Bought with another about 20+ years ago and one year later it was over. It sold for not much more than bought so not much in the line of profit. I’m renting since.
“I want my own place but I’m not a first time buyer. I don’t have savings of 40k minimum! Not renting in Dublin! I have worked all my life.
“My housemate couldn’t pay anymore end last year so I had to find somewhere else to live… I’m now in Graiguenamanagh – not by choice! This will not be permanent or else I will move into Leinster House.”
Rachel: ‘We’re at the mercy of landlords’
“I’ve been renting since 2018. My rent is €762.50 a month and for that I get a decent apartment in Clontarf with my flatmate. But we’re still at the mercy of landlords.
“We’re lucky that our landlord is sound but he’s in 70s so if he decides to sell, we have to find a new place. Saving for a mortgage is so hard but I do my best. But I just don’t feel I’ll ever get there.
“My mother died last year and left me a small inheritance which makes me extremely lucky but even then, my salary means I couldn’t afford a house in Dublin or Kildare where I’m originally from.
“My Dad keeps telling me that renting is a waste of money but I don’t know what else I can do. Living at home isn’t really a feasible option and I want to spend my young years in the capital near my work and friends.
But I’m terrified that even with a partner, we wouldn’t be able to afford anything in Dublin, Kildare, Meath or Wicklow. I feel trapped and I don’t see how it’s going to get any better. My parents bought a house aged 24 and 27. I’ll be lucky to get one before I’m 30.
‘I’m 30 and I’m going to be living with my parents for the next seven or eight years’
“I turn 30 this year and live with my parents. In January 2020 I stopped renting in Dublin so I could start saving money. I thought I would be closer to owning my own home by now but the reality has set in over the last year that I’m going to be living with my parents and saving for another 7-8 years before I can afford a house at the current prices.
“And 7-8 years from now the price of houses will be higher than they are now. Even the smallest limit on the Affordable Housing Scheme is well above what I can afford so I don’t understand what’s ‘affordable’ about it. I feel like I’m left in a stalemate with my life on hold.”
‘In 2016 we lost our home’
So we are married 28 years, with grown up kids. We have worked hard, thankfully never had to depend on social welfare and the mortgage was always the priority. Recession 2008 hit and getting paid became impossible.
“We always engaged and payed full payments or what we could. We cut our lifestyle back, lived on a very small income, but sadly in 2016 we lost our home. Since then we have been renting minimum €1500 a month, saving for a deposit to buy again as we can’t continue this.
“We now need 20%, banks won’t accommodate us as the old mortgage is still outstanding with the ICB as our mortgage company didn’t bother selling it and it is now rotting away, derelict.
“Deposit is at least €45000 which is a lot of money to generate when paying high rent. There is nothing in place for people in our situation, no support. We are desperate to own our own home.
“House prices are continually rising which doesn’t give us many options: a fixer upper out of the county, away from our family, needing more savings.
“It is soul destroying, we are getting older and need security of our own home.”
‘Our landlord won’t register us with the PRTB’
“I’m late twenties and renting in Dublin for the last five-ish years. Living with parents isn’t an option for me. I am in my current place about two years, currently I pay €650 pm rent which I’m aware is a great rate for Dublin.
“Our landlord isn’t in touch much which is great, but we are concerned that he refuses to give us tenancy agreements or register us with the PRTB. If we don’t like it, we can leave, etc.
“He told us he’s got a mortgage on the house which is ‘crippling him’ and that’s why he’s ‘had to’ put rent up in 2020. He has also turned the downstairs living room into a bedroom, so there’s four of us here total, making him over €2k pm (higher than any of our salaries).
“We have had a few issues that he hasn’t fixed but we feel very powerless to leave because of the dire situations others are in. It’s also difficult because without PRTB registration or any formal tenancy agreement we feel like if we’re too demanding we could all just be evicted at a moment’s notice, so we’re very cautious about hassling him to fix things.
“However we’re lucky – it’s a good location and rent (though astronomical by European standards) is VERY reasonable compared to some others! And this year we got a carbon monoxide alarm, so things are looking up!”
Chris: ‘We save €600 a month but can’t afford a house’
“I am 25 years old and currently I live at home with my parents. Myself and my girlfriend are currently saving for a home. We are putting €600 each aside each month to save for a deposit. Both of us are civil servants.
“Even though we have government jobs saving at the moment seems redundant as with are combined wage we won’t be able to afford anything other than a one bedroom apartment. It’s heartbreaking to know that we will never be able to afford a house in the area I or where my girlfriend grew up in Dublin.
“I know it’s a first world problem but working for the government shouldn’t mean you have to live in exile of your family if you want anything more than a one bed.”
‘My fiancé and I live separately with our parents so we can save’
“I’m 29, my fiancé is 30, and we’re both living with our parents, separately in our respective family homes. We have never actually lived together. We’ve been saving sporadically since 2016 for a house, however being young we also wanted to travel and twice blew considerable amounts of our savings on trips of a lifetime.
“We also made the decision to get married before buying a house because of the deposit we’d need was significantly more than the cost of a wedding. Based on our income, we’re outside the threshold for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme, but also priced out of new build houses, and therefore the First Time Buyers Grant, based on the mortgage value and repayments we can achieve.
“So, we’re stuck with coming up with a large deposit for a second hand home. As we both work in different parts of Dublin, and neither of us drive, location and transport links are important.
“Second hand homes are mostly cheaper than new builds, but require a higher deposit, and usually within our price range also require work done to make them comfortably habitable before moving in.
“We’re hoping to have at least €30k saved by this time next year, and that’s doable only because we’re lucky not to be paying rent. Unfortunately the reality is we’ll need about €50k before we can actually by somewhere, pay all the fees, do repairs, and furnish it.”
‘We had marriage planned – now we have to live separately with our parents’
“I’m 33, my partner is 27. I’m a civil servant and my partner is semi-State. Our combined income is just shy of 50k. We’re in the midlands. The last place we rented was €1500 a month. It was impossible to put a penny away for a mortgage.
“Her parents had small piece of land, we went through the rigmarole of applying for planning permission for a cabin, and were told that it didn’t suit the style of architecture in the area. This was in the middle of the rural countryside, with maybe 3-4 houses in a mile, not on the same road.
“Both our parents have severe medical issues so we never had anything in the way of the ‘Bank of Mam and Dad’. We’ve been together five years, had marriage planned. Now we’re both living in our respective parents homes, seeing each other maybe twice a week due to schedules and trying to penny pinch a deposit in between unforeseen things cropping up.”
‘Dealing with REIT caused us a lot of trauma’
“I am currently renting under one of the large institutional landlords. Due to COVID-19, one of our housemates decided not to renew at the end of the tenancy. We were right at the height of Level 5 restrictions at the time, could not even show anyone the room.
“We asked for some kind of arrangement on the rent for a temporary period while we tried to find a new housemate. We eventually found someone but we were not able to get the landlord to agree to even a temporary rent reduction. They offered a deferred payment scheme or suggested we could eat into our deposit.
“Their shareholder primacy essentially meant that we as tenants had to shoulder all of the fallout from the worst health crisis in a century. With nowhere else to go, we had to find an extra €1300 in rent just so our landlord could remain at the top of the Irish stock exchange. That they are the biggest landlord in the state should terrify everyone. There is no human aspect to a REIT that has a responsibility shareholders, and dealing with them caused us a lot of trauma.”
Keith: ‘We are in limbo’
“My partner and I are in our forties and we rent a house in County Limerick for €1200 a month. We earn the guts of €80,000 between us but by the time bills are paid etc, it’s hard to make any meaningful savings. I work in hospitality so was out of work for a lot of the last 14 months, so most of our savings are eroded.
“I was a first-time buyer in 2004 with my previous partner but signed the house over to her when we separated. So I am not entitled to FTB Support despite not owning a house and will need to come up with a 20% deposit before we even think of buying a house. Realistically that is €40,000. It’s an impossibility.
We don’t qualify for council housing which we’d gladly accept; we are in limbo. We’ve spent the last 10 years paying rent (€105,000) and will spend the next 20 years paying rent, but what do we do when we retire and can’t afford rent?
“It all seems a bit hopeless, over the last few days as I’ve listened to government politicians and their lack of understanding of the scale of what they’ve created, and all I can think is maybe it’s time to leave. I didn’t emigrate in the 90’s or the 00s but now I feel a bit beaten and maybe it’s time to go.”
Mark: ‘We moved out of Dublin and it changed our lives’
“My wife and I moved into a rented two-bed apartment in D18 in 2012. However, with the ever-increasing costs of living in Dublin, which wasn’t commensurate with any pay rises we were getting, we decided we had to get out of Dublin.
“We felt whilst we were living in Dublin we weren’t truly experiencing it – we didn’t have the money to go out, our lives were spent on the M50 etc. When we first moved into that apartment it was €1000 a month, but with each passing year it went up by €100 a month. By 2016 when we moved out we had been paying €1400 a month.
“We moved to just outside Killarney, initially we rented a 3-bed farmhouse for €400 a month, a €1000 a month saving for ~3 times the amount of living space! We rented there for 20 months and were able to save up €35k because of it.
“We bought a four-bed bungalow, a 5 minute drive from town for €220k. We spent €65k on a full renovation and now have a B2 house.
“We were able to move as my wife got a job transfer and I was able to work remotely. I truly believe COVID will mean a lot more people will move to rural areas to get a better quality of life, cheaper housing costs and potentially closer to home. I know of 3 other colleagues who have sold their apartments in Dublin to move to rural locations, closer to their families.”
‘Issues with probate due to Covid-19 are holding up our purchase’
“Both myself and my fiancée have been house hunting for over 18 months and to no avail. We previously went sale agreed on a property, but this sale fell through due to the undue delay with issuing a grant of probate for the house. The house had been left in a will.
“Due to Covid-19, there is a massive delay in selling houses that are subject to probate. A house cannot be sold until a grant of probate is issued.
“We were sale agreed for three months, while waiting on probate. We were told that we would have to wait it out and if we were to do so it would have afforded the seller an opportunity to keep an eye on the market and possibly put the property back on the market, if it improved in their favour. We felt as if we were being used as a fall back!
“Also, we went sale agreed on the house at a price that was well in excess of the asking price. This problem could have been easily rectified if the Probate Office facilitated these applications by way of a Zoom call and any paperwork that needed to be signed could have been witnessed by a solicitor etc.
“We are both employed in good, secure jobs and we cannot purchase a standard semi-detached house in North Dublin. We are not looking for anything extravagant, just something that is value for money in an average area. This does not exist in Ireland.”
‘The bank sold my loan to a vulture fund’
“I am a property investor. The bank sold my loan to a vulture fund. No arrears existed.
The vulture fund sought full payment within seven days of my loan. I could not remortgage or sell the property in seven days so the vulture fund appointed a receiver.
“I offered to buy my house back from the receiver but he would not accept my price but oddly sold the house for less money than I’d offered! The vulture fund is suing me now in court for the shortfall.”
Michael: ‘It is almost impossible to find somewhere to rent while being on the PUP’
“I have been trying to rent an apartment for the last four months without having any success. I’m a 23-year-old graduate.
“Everyday for the last four months I have been searching online for somewhere to rent for returning to work. Time and time again I have been told no by both landlords and property agents. It is almost impossible to find somewhere to rent while being on the PUP. I have been told several times to get back to them once you are off the PUP.
“However I can’t get off the PUP and return to my workplace if I don’t have somewhere to rent/live. It is a stressful and mentally draining process applying to various properties to not even hear back from many of them. I have never had this much savings in my bank account before, yet it is extremely difficult to find a place to rent in the Dublin area.
“I’ve had to move home to my parents house in the country and if the last four months is anything to go by, it doesn’t give me the greatest of confidence that I will be successful in renting an apartment/property from a landlord or property agent.
“My hope is that for younger people and for future generations to come, it will not be this difficult and stressful when looking to rent a property.”
‘We earn too much for housing assistance and not enough for a mortgage’
“We rented for 12 years, and two years ago our landlord needed the house back for family reasons. Rents were much higher than we could afford so myself, partner and our children moved in to my partner’s parents’ three-bed house to save a deposit.
“And it’s been one disaster after another, we can’t get a mortgage big enough from the banks so we applied for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan with south Dublin county council and after a seven-month wait they refused us.
We were devastated, I reached out to Citizens Advice and the council for what I could do next and was told that we fall in-between the cracks because we earn too much for any sort of housing assistance (council house/HAP) but we don’t earn enough to get a mortgage big enough to afford a house in our area.
“We’re really at a loss, we can’t afford the extortionate rents and we can’t stay with family forever.”
”I’ve been on the council housing list since 2017′
“I am a Black man that is 22 years old with a disability living my parent and three siblings in a three-bedroom house in Co Kerry.
“I would like to live in a rented apartment for the first time on my own or with different people in blockchain apartment if that could happen at some point of my life. I will be working very soon but only part-time in a job because I need the disability medical cards.
“But I am still in college and I will be finished when I get a job and a apartment to live in. I have been on the the county council housing list from 2017 and I am still waiting for a place to live now.”
‘With a lot of effort and sacrifice you can get where you want to be’
“In 2012 we moved in together. With our combined savings and a small mortgage we bought the worst house we could, this was close to bottom of the market so was in hindsight a great price, and I set about renovating.
“The renovations took about seven months in total and it was perfect for us until we were lucky enough to be joined by our first child. We quickly ran out of room and looked for a bigger house.
“With a second child after arriving we purchased another house, again in need of total renovation. This was bought with a new mortgage and we tried to cashflow the renovations as much as possible, I had the heavy tools out again to save as much money as possible. I did as much as I could myself for the next six months.
“It was hard work again but worth it. After 8 years of living in the city and with two young kids, we were sick of the students and noise. So we began another search, again back to the bank (nightmare) to try and see what we could borrow so we could have our budget in place.
“After this sale we moved in with family and got lucky with a great house in a great
location (for us) but again needed complete renovation. This was funded with the proceeds of two prior houses plus a third mortgage (the bank got their math wrong on two separate occasions – always check). We got an engineer and builder on board and moved in in late 2020.
“So an eight-year story of house moves and climbing the property ladder, but I think it shows that with a bit (lot) of effort and sacrifice you can get to where you want to be… but having a plan and budget are very important.”
‘My partner was told about an inheritance left to him for a family home – we both sobbed’
“I met my partner in 2016. I was renting a room in a house share in Dublin and he was living at home in a commuter town. I became pregnant in 2018. We were worried long term because if we were renting, how would we ever save a deposit to buy? The only option would have been moving in with family, with a child. I know so many who’ve done that but it doesn’t make it right.
“My partner was told about an inheritance that was left to him for the purpose of buying a family home. When I say that we both sobbed is an understatement. To know there was a way of providing a secure home for our child was just overwhelming. However, my partner had to lose someone extremely close to him for us to be in that situation. That’s not right either.
“We signed contracts on a new build house in February 2020, just before Covid. There were obviously delays but we got the keys to our house in December 2020. The prices of the houses in our estate now are already out of our reach in terms of mortgage approval. We are blessed we got our house when we did. Mullen Park in Maynooth is not far from us. The houses that did go to the market, we were priced out of anyway.”
‘At 36 I’m lucky to be almost mortgage-free’
“I have a good housing story which is probably in the minority at the moment and I know how lucky I am, and am so grateful.
“I bought my apartment in 2017, it’s just me on my own, I could only afford a one-bed. I moved from the town where I grew up and all my friends are to the northside as unless I was to win the Lotto I would never be able to afford to live there.
“I gave up smoking just over a year ago and so sent in a declaration to my mortgage protection to reduce the premium. I’d had some health issues which I also had to declare and they replied saying there could be a claim on the serious illness cover. I found out this week that they are admitting the claim and so at 36 years of age I am about to be mortgage free.
“If there’s any advice I’d give to anyone now it is include serious illness on your mortgage protection! I feel like I’ve won the Lotto, it’s a dream come true!”
‘Getting a place for myself is out of reach’
“I’ve been renting in Dublin since summer 2010 and living in the same apartment throughout this time. The apartment was newly built, in a great location. I’ve held the lease and I’ve utilised the house share adverts through the years to rent a room.
“The rent was stable until around 2014/15 but since then the cost has increased by 4% each year. It is relatively on or below average in cost for the size and location and thus it’s difficult getting the property management to paint or fix any major issues. I feel they would rather prefer we moved out so they could carry out these jobs which would mean they can substantially increase the rental rate.
“Getting a place to myself is out of reach financially, either renting or buying. While the lure of West and its lower cost of living is enticing, I don’t feel ready to leave the city life I enjoy so much.”
‘We lost our jobs in the crash’
“I’m 45, married with children. Had a deposit for a house in 2008 and were looking to buy. Then myself and my wife both lost our jobs in the crash. I went self-employed working where I could and our deposit gradually got spent on rent and food.
“Since then we have had children and I’ve retrained to Masters level at own expense while working full time. Since graduating I’ve been fortunate to work self employed making about 50K p/annum and until Covid hit my wife who had returned to work had been working part time. We have been renting in rural Ireland at a reasonable cost and have been saving really hard for a deposit for a house.
“The lending institutions that we have approached won’t offer us more than 70K because of our age, self employed status and our children. I see prices going up and the prospect of ever owning a home receding. The insecurity of work and the housing situation has taken an enormous toll on our mental health and both myself and my wife suffer from depression and severe anxiety.
“I fear for the future. I’m one phone call away from being given notice to leave and one short term contract away from being unemployed and spending our savings on the basics again. I feel utter despair when I see the government priorities and policies on housing. I remember what it was like being happy and not being worried sick every day. When you don’t have a secure home nothing else really matters.”
‘What was in my reach two years ago is no longer achievable’
“I am a working lone parent, living at my parents in order to save for a small cheap house. But in Co Galway these do not exist anymore. What might have been within my reach two years ago is no longer achievable.
“I do not qualify for a mortgage, as apparently I would not have enough disposable income left over at the end of the month after paying my mortgage. On that note, who are ‘they’ to tell me how much I should have to spend at the end of the month? I am an expert at budgeting, paying all bills on time and living well within my means.
“So I am literally saving the full amount for a house. It’s going to take me 10 years but this is the only way forward I can see. Unfortunately, the more I save (of my already taxed income), the more my lone parent benefit will be deducted.”
Sean: ‘The house is damp’
“I’m a single man in his thirties with no children. I’m renting with my friend and we both pay €800pm for a two bedroom house in D12.
“The house is damp, we have single glazed windows which won’t close, we aren’t allowed to take out the prepay gas meter so electricity and gas are approx 250 per month depending on weather.
“I’m a nurse, I work 40 hours per week plus overtime to survive. Last year due to the pandemic I earned €55,000. This isn’t enough for a mortgage, but too much to apply for housing schemes. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. My options are to work as much as I can, or to try earn less than €50,000… ”
‘We owed over €300k’
“In 2006 I was looking to rent with my now wife, a one-bed in D6 was about €1.4k. We worked out it would be cheaper to buy, even if we ended up spending nearly €400k. We got outbid three times (a two-bed in Rathmines went for €415k) but we eventually got a one-bed in D6 in early 2007 for €381k.
“Then the crash happened. At one stage our apartment was worth €140k. We owed over €300k. I got transferred to another city in 2010 and have been renting the apartment out ever since. Our rent has never come close to covering the mortgage. I have paid C&I every month for over 14 years and am still in negative equity. I’d have sold years ago, but I’m not paying off an unsecured loan on a property I’d no longer own.
“With two salaries coming in we just managed to buy a house at the bottom of the market in late 2013 (€160k). I lied about what the Dublin flat was worth.
“Loads of people would love to own a flat in the location it is, and I’d love to sell.”
‘I’m 40, single, and working out of my childhood bedroom’
“I am 40, single, and currently working my full-time office job out of my childhood bedroom. I make what is listed as the median income for an Irish person, and by staying with my parents I have saved double the minimum deposit. But I can’t buy a home.
“Because of a medical condition I can’t drive, so I am limited in where I can house hunt. There is simply nothing affordable for a single person that is near public transport. I keep wondering if I should give up looking, and rent instead.
“But then how will I manage when I can’t work anymore, with no savings and no secure home? So I stay in my old bedroom, and watch the house prices increase faster than I can save.”
‘I live with my controlling ex’
“I’m a woman in her 40s. One child. Separated but still living with controlling abusive ex in rented house. Cannot afford rent. Work full time. Am on housing list. Can’t find anywhere with rent supplement.
“Don’t want to declare myself homeless. What would that do to my son’s mental health? Only family here in Ireland is my elderly parents – no space in their house. Ex won’t move. I couldn’t afford rent here without him either. Have safety order against him but that’s it. I’ll never own. Can’t even rent a one bedroom place.
“Moving from Dublin is only option but till my son leaves school not able to. My work is here too.”
‘It feels like the government is against us’
“We have been saving hard for two years for a large deposit… skipping holidays and cutting anywhere we can. We are well over the 10% deposit required at this stage so any extra we are adding to our purchase price.
“We are on decent wages (circa €110k per annum between us) but still had to get an exemption of 4.5 times our salary. We are hoping to buy in South Dublin because that’s where my parents live but despite all our saving and our exemption we are priced out of the rare house that arises in the area.
“Pre-Covid houses were few and far between and now we are in a full drought supply wise. We have been outbid several times at our absolute max of 540k. We are in our 30s and hoping to start a family but that’s being pushed back further and further due to the housing situation.
“It sometimes really gets you down especially when it feels like the government is working against you and wants to price you out. It doesn’t seem appealing to commute for hours and miles from family as they age but its been something we have been forced to consider.
“We also pay €1.3k rent a month on top of our savings which could be better spent in a pension to ensure that we have a decent future ahead of us. It feels like the government are working against us at every turn.”
Daniel: ‘Homeowning shouldn’t be only for high-earning couples’
“I’ve worked full-time in reasonably well-paid positions since I left college. I’ve always aimed to buy my own house as early as possible, so I’ve been saving, to some extent, every payday.
“After eight years of working full time, I’ve changing jobs three times and had a few promotions. I now earn a good salary by most definitions (roughly €70k total last year), I save about €1,000 per month and I have over €50k saved.
“But I’m struggling to accept the fact that I’ll likely never be a homeowner in Ireland. I don’t want to buy a house with my partner (he already owns a house), nor should I have to. Homeownership shouldn’t be reserved for high-earning couples who want to live together.”
‘We rent a studio apartment for €1,200 a month’
“My housing story is probably similar to a lot of people. My boyfriend and I rented a €1,200 studio in Dublin (the cheapest we could find), and were stuck in it for the first five months of the pandemic, elbow to elbow working at home.
“Now, we live in a converted garage. Landlords are lovely, but we can’t save for a house with that kind of rent, so we’ll have to move back in with the parents for a while.
“Lockdown helped us save a lot, but loads of houses are out of our price range because we don’t earn enough, so we need a huge deposit for a semi-decent house. No idea when we’ll finally have a place of our own. The news about those homes in Maynooth being bought by a cuckoo fund has us really worried now.”
Diogo: ‘This is a risky situation’
“I have arrived in Ireland in 2015 for my first job in tech. I have been sharing a flat ever since, including after marriage two years ago.
“My wife and I have been saving well but the house prices mean that we would be stuck with a loan for the rest of our working life.
This is a risky situation, especially for two foreigners.
Lynn: ‘We’re getting too old for a mortgage – in our forties’
“We’re at the older end of generation rent. Both in our early forties, both working full time, earning €30,000 or so each. So for starters €450,000 is NOT affordable.
“We’re in private rental accommodation in a rent pressure zone with a landlady who attempted to issue an eviction notice during lockdown one, which was strongly rebuffed, and we’ve not heard a word from her since, but left feeling insecure.
“We’d love to have bought, we had mortgage approval and a deposit on a site to self build in 2007. All fell through in ’08. Hence we’re still renting.
“I’d like security of tenure and a fair rent. And the hope of owning our own place. We’re now getting a bit old to even get a mortgage…”
Ciara: ‘I’m on the council waiting list for 11 years’
“I am in my fifties, single no kids and live in Co Kerry. I live in a two-bedroom flat on my own. I love living on my own and the apartment is nice. My rent is about €700 per month and, because I am not working, social welfare pay €130 of my €163 rent per week.
“I have mental health issues so receive disability living allowance – this is roughly €225 per week so I have €200 or so per week for living and my bills etc. I am very good with my money and owe nobody any money. I have lived for 10 years in my apartment. I privately rent it and am on the council waiting list for about 11 years.
“Hopefully I will get an affordable house or flat from Kerry County Council but I could be waiting another few years. I could never afford a mortgage.”
‘I look like I’m living the dream – but I sleep on a sofa bed’
“I live in an affluent Dublin suburb. I’m 28, living in an apartment, and completing my second university degree. I don’t have to pay rent. Seems like I’m living the dream, right?
“Except, I don’t have a bedroom; I have a sofa-bed. And it’s not my apartment, it’s my relatives’. It’s been three years since the end of an abusive relationship left me homeless, and my family put me up. I never expected to be here this long, but I have a safe place to stay. I’m so grateful.
“I’m on Disability Allowance and my SUSI grant helps pay for some private healthcare (still on waiting-lists publicly). This area’s HAP threshold is lower than most rents. And other people need accommodation more urgently. I feel selfish wanting more – wanting my own bedroom door. So I’m grateful.
“I have overcome significant obstacles over the past few years – I am so proud of myself. But while recovering from trauma and learning how to manage my disability, I missed my chance to ‘start a career’ and ‘get-on-the-property-ladder’. I’ll never own my own home. I can’t even afford to dream. And it feels like that’s my own fault.”
Stephanie: ‘Estate agents told us the property price would go up 8%’
“Myself and my husband are first-time buyers. We have been outbid on six properties since we got our approval in late January, one house was up for 395k and went sale agreed without any viewings at €465k in north Dublin.
“We have had ‘virtual tours’ of properties which is basically just the estate agent showing you a YouTube video taken on an iPhone, but they’re an improvement from some estate agents who don’t even get back to us.
“We had cocky estate agents tell us ‘yes expect this property price will be bidded up by at least 8%’. Now we’re finding many of the houses we bid on early in the year are back on the market as the sales have fallen through. But get this, the estate agents have rang us to say the owners won’t go less than the price the property went sale agreed at! Which in one case was over 30k above the asking price.
“We have family telling us to ‘wait it out’ and that ‘the bubble will burst soon’ but as a couple who want to start a family and are in the best financial position we will probably ever be in, it’s hard to sit tight for two-three years for a possible market crash. Don’t forget our Dublin rent as well which is running money down for us each month.
“Add to all this the revelation this week that investment funds are buying up estates just makes us feel like giving up. It doesn’t look like supply will meet demand for a long time and unfortunately it looks like we’ll be the ones caught in the firing line.”
‘I pay rent to live in my parents’ attic’
“I’m 31 and returned to my parents’ house in my early twenties after a couple of years working abroad. What was originally supposed to be a short-term arrangement now feels like my permanent situation.
“I contribute what would qualify as a fair ‘rent’ for the attic room, buy my own shopping and obviously do my own washing etc. I can’t afford to rent on my own, and while I could possibly rent a room in a house share for the the same amount I give my parents, I don’t see the point in sharing a rented house with strangers and always having the fear of losing the property and being unable to afford anything else on my budget.
“Living at home is not ideal but I feel extremely lucky to have a strong safety net here. I am saving every month but it can feel pointless; as a single person it is very unlikely that I will qualify for mortgage which will buy anything in Dublin.”
‘My house is in negative equity’
“I’m 50 and separated eight years. I’ve spent over €50k on rent in last 8 years. Home house is in negative equality. Would love if council brought out a scheme like a rent to buy scheme.
“I would pay €600-700 a month to the council for rent to buy and maintain the house myself with repairs etc and maybe someday in 15-20 years when the council have got back what it cost them to build, I would own the house.
“All I am doing at the moment is paying dead money to a landlord who owns tens of properties, making them richer.”
‘It’s not an equal society if single people are punished economically’
“I am a teacher in a secondary school. I believe in houses for working people as that is what I am. I would not like to see housing needs and various sectors played off one another.
“I live and work in Dublin Bay South and originally I am from the West of Ireland.
I am renting long-term and afraid I won’t be able to buy a house. I am a first-time buyer who’s being priced out of my desired area.
“It is not an equal society if single people are punished economically with long-term implications affecting them later in life. Being priced out of home ownership due to decades of poor planning and the subsequent gaslighting by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael government is criminal. They are blaming each other and there seems to be no accountability from any of them.
“Single people with professional well-paid careers should not be relegated socially or economically or denied home ownership due to their relationship status. A person should not have to be economically pressured to partner up. Single people are workers too and pay taxes.
I think it really affects your sense of self worth, self esteem and whole personal life when you cannot have autonomy about your quality of life which is connected to feeling safe and living well.
“It is not acceptable to expect parents and the bank of mom and dad to pay deposits; this is an approach that exacerbates and highlights economic inequality.
“I have seen on dating profiles ‘anyone want to go 50/50 on a mortgage’ – although they may be joking it’s pretty bleak, disturbing and dystopian to think that perhaps that is how people are beginning to think, and that is no way to live life.
Kieran: ‘There are no new builds in my price range’
“I’m a 30-year-old man with a child. I have lived with my parents all my life in D22. I’ve a good job and have saved a decent house deposit. Last year I was approved for the Help to Buy scheme. I was approved for a mortgage in principle in January.
“Between mortgage approval and savings my budget is around €260k. When I was approved this looked like plenty to buy in this area. However nearly everything has gone way over my budget by the time I phone the estate agent. There are no new builds in my price range around Dublin.
“A house I saw around the time of my mortgage approval was up for €250k, it sold for €317k per property price register. Houses for sale are being removed off Daft before going back up 2 weeks later for an extra €25k.
“All I want is the same opportunity to purchase a property for my family that my parents had in their 20s, preferably before I get to my 40s.”
‘Working from home could let me buy a house in the country’
“I’m now 34 and was saving as much as possible prior to the pandemic, however that wasn’t a lot. I was on a wage of approx €50k but with Dublin city centre rent of €800 for a box room and living expenses, saving rates were low.
“It looked like a tiny house somewhere in the Dublin suburbs would be at least five years away. Maybe a bit quicker if I met a partner with a similar goal (lol at affording a house being dependent on finding love).
“The pandemic ended up changing my circumstances significantly. Firstly my boss left and I ended up taking their role getting a raise to €70k after a probation period. Secondly I ended up stuck in my folks’ home in the countryside for the first lockdown.
“Turned out I liked the countryside and maybe with work culture changes, working from home could allow me to buy in the countryside instead of Dublin.”
‘Securing a traditional mortgage would be difficult for me’
“I currently live in Co Limerick with my mother in the family home. I moved back there in March 2020, due to Covid and having to work from home. Previously I had been renting in Dublin.
“My studio flat in Dublin was not suitable for working in. I had been renting in Dublin since 2006, in various parts of the city. I suppose I haven’t given much thought to my housing situation til recently; I’m quite laidback. I earn €43,000 a year, so securing a traditional mortgage would be a struggle for me, with a modest single income in my early 40s.
“I would be interested in affordable housing initiatives. Alternatively, something like ‘cost rental’ may be suitable for me, but my overall concern about long-term rental would be: what happens when I reach retirement? Would I still have to pay the same level of rent in retirement? Would I earn equity in the property over time?”
‘I’m a single parent and need security for my daughter’
“I am a single parent. I pay €700 a month rent. I share 50/50 custody with my daughter’s dad. I am a manager at a finance company and can’t find any mortgage that would give me enough to buy anywhere where I live.
“I’m not looking for much: a two-bed house or apartment with a garden. Quoted €121,000 by my bank as a mortgage and it’s ridiculous.
“I have afforded my rent for years and have saved money for a deposit on top but with the 3.5 times bank rule it’s seems like there is no hope of ever owning my own home and having security for my daughter in the future.”
Patricia: ‘My housing story has a happy ending’
“My housing story ends with a happy ending, we have been living in our home two years, it’s not all doom and gloom. Myself and my partner decided in 2017 we’d start saving for a house. We saved and saved.
“In 2018 we started looking at second hand homes and even found a few we liked. We were out-bid a few times. We didn’t have enough money to go above asking as we were funding ourselves and we wanted to do it ourselves. We were both working on a salary of 70k between us so we’re not millionaires and we were saving double of what our mortgage would be.
“We were pretty tired of the second hand market and decided to go new build with the help to buy scheme. By luck we signed up for a new housing development and we got our new build house and got our help to buy. We have been happily in the house for two years soon.
“We were very lucky and it’s extremely hard out there but there is light at the end of the tunnel. However, even with not paying rent and a gift from my parents buying a house down here still seems impossible. Anything near to my folks would require an exemption on the mortgage and leave me with not a penny for stamp duty or buying furniture. And that’s if everything half decent wasn’t snapped up in days for well over the asking price.”
‘We’re in our 50s and don’t have our own place’
“I’m living with my husband and my son for the last 13 years in Dublin in rented
accommodation. In 2008 we paid for a one-bedroom apartment of €1,300 per month. My husband and I worked, but we could never save for a deposit as our salary was too little.
“Then in 2012, we lost our jobs. We went back to the college. We were on the Back to Education Programme. It was a tough time and, of course, with little money still living in rented accommodation.
“As two new graduates, we still got paid less than others with degree qualifications in other fields. Still not saving money for a deposit as our son was in secondary school. Still living in the same rented accommodation living with the fear because of the high rent prices on the market.
“In 2020 my husband lost his job, he was unemployed for four months. I was the only one who worked, paid rent, bills, as my son was jobless as well in March because of Covid.
“Finally, he got a job in October 2020, but he got less paid than his previous job. It was unacceptable to live in a one-bedroom apartment, three adults; at the end of January
2021, when the prices for two-bedroom apartments were less, we moved into a two-bedroom apartment. We pay €2,000 per month. I’m doing my Masters. I have to invest four more years in myself to earn a decent salary to buy something.
“For people like us who are struggling and earn just €2,000 per month, it is impossible to buy a house, and there is no help out there from the Government for us. We are in our 50s, so I don’t know when we will have our place.’
‘I’ve been paying rent for a heartbreaking 18 years’
“I am late 30s, single, been fully employed since college. I earn marginally over €50k per annum, so don’t qualify for any schemes bar HTB. Have deposit saved. Would only get top mortgage of approx €225.
“Work in Dublin city centre. Been paying rent for a heartbreaking 18 years. Really want to buy my own first home now. Just one home, for me to live in. Moved back to family home in 2020 hoping to save more for purchase. No chance of getting anything in my area that I know/am familiar with.
“Why can’t Help to Buy (ie tax rebate on the tax I have paid) not be extended to second hand houses for FTB?!?”
Hayley: ‘It’s impossible to buy at the moment’
“I’m currently looking to buy a home with my partner. We are both fortunate enough to be living with our parents in a city. We have both rented in house shares when we first started going out but ended up having to move home as rent prices were climbing.
“We were looking for a place to rent just the two of us for a while but we decided it was mad to pay a landlord’s mortgage when we could start saving for our own.
“We are mortgage approved and eager to find a home. We have found that between Covid-19 and the housing crisis it is almost impossible to buy at the moment.”
‘I spent seven months with no toilet’
“I had always lived in my own property however as a result of domestic violence I moved to Co Limerick. I ended up in HAP accommodation, moving three times in five years.
“The place I’m in now my landlord/developer has been trying to evict two of us because we could not pay his cash top up demands, and I helped other tenants with my basic knowledge of law.
“I have been left with no heating for two years and in A&E in November 2019 with suspected monoxide poisoning. I spent seven months of the pandemic with no functioning toilet and sewage pouring onto the pavement resulting in me calling the Samaritans over the Christmas period, something I never did even during my abuse.
“I have even thought recently should I have stayed in my abusive relationship because this is as traumatic, only at least back there I had a home. I have been to everyone for assistance. I’m in and out of RTB cases fighting to keep a roof over my head. I have a list from TDs to head of RTB and Revenue I have contacted with evidence.
No one wants to know. Maybe when someone dies down here there will be accountability. But at what cost then.
‘I will never afford a home of my own – shared living has taken a toll’
I’m 25, single and have been renting in Dublin since my third year of college. I finished college three years ago and have been working full time for the past three years and earn €55,000 a year.
“This new scheme means I will never be able to buy a house in Dublin based on my current salary as a single person. Shared living has taken its toll during the pandemic with all four housemates working from home with our lease due to expire later this year.
“I have to pay rent but am also expected to be saving for a deposit of what, €30, €40k? I will be in my 40s before I am anywhere near to having that much saved. We need help out there!”
‘I was told by banks I don’t earn enough’
“I left my job as my €32k salary was never going to help me in obtaining a mortgage in Dublin. I was told by banks I don’t earn enough. It was humiliating.
“So I moved county to the countryside and now I can rent an apartment to myself at a price that’s not low or high but at 35 I need my own place. I spent years saving for a deposit for a house I was never going to afford in Dublin. I’ll never have my own property. It has been detrimental to my life not being able to afford to rent or buy in my hometown.
“It’s hopeless for a normal young person with no leg up on the mortgage ladder.”
‘I lost my late 20s to a disability’
“I lost my late 20s due to a disability. I lived with my parents, but it wasn’t suitable for my needs. I lived in a box room, until I got a bedsit from the council, which helped me regain my independence, do physio, and get back to work. I still have bad days, but I’m able to work through the pain. I’m not earning nearly as much as my peers due to being out of the workforce for so long.
“I’ve now met someone, but we can’t afford to live together, as we’d need a two-bedroom place so when my pain levels are bad, I can sleep alone, and living separately is cheaper than renting a two-bed. We can’t find anything for less than €2k a month.
“A mortgage would be cheaper, but my partner is on reduced hours due to Covid and we can’t afford to save. My partner is terrified of the landlady, due to previous landlords ending tenancies so they can ‘redecorate’, only to see the property advertised at much higher prices looking the same a month later. I’m afraid we’ll never get a place of our own at this rate.”
‘It’s ripping me of my self-identity’
“I live with my mum and it has not been easy. My mum and I have not been having the best relationship. I emailed the council explaining to them the situation and they have refused to help – only if I find a HAP house, that’s my only option. I ve looked and gone for viewings and not found anything.
“It’s ripping me of my self-identity as a woman and a mother because we need the space. I go into a depression and completely shut off at times because it’s so hard to explain because I felt unheard and ignored just like many others.
“My situation is not special but it’s painful how they have refused to give us our own home where me and my children can live in peace and be ourselves. I would love to start my own small business and be a bus driver at the same time, but I feel this is truly stressing me out and holding me back.”
‘There is no support from the government or council’
“My housing story echoes the stories of so many of my friends and colleagues. We’re all still living at home, saving as much as we possibly can and still locked out of the housing market.
“I’m currently living at home with my parents and siblings, I’m stuck in a box room all day while I continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. I’ve saved enough to cover half of a deposit but my property options are non existent.
“As a single applicant there is no support from the government or the local council. I don’t make enough to buy a house, apartments hardly ever come up within a 40 mile radius and the ones that do are still out of my price range, I also don’t qualify for the housing list as I earn too much i.e 20c per hour above the living wage.
“The announcement of a house price capped at €300k in Wexford is laughable, I don’t know a single person that could afford that on their own. Unless I make the decision to buy a derelict property and renovate it myself I don’t have any options but to continue to either live at home or move into a house share.
We seem to be stuck in an endless cycle of being told we earn too much for help and not enough to be a homeowner. I’ve already made the decision to emigrate next year, my options to own a home abroad are far higher. The Tánaiste has said he doesn’t want to see another generation lost to emigration, but it’s too late. We’re already gone.
‘I’m looking at emigrating, but can’t leave my mum’
“As a hopeful first time buyer, I’m single, 40, with no kids and earn €85,000 – €95,000 per year as a freelancer in county Dublin. There’s no way I can afford a property with a garden anywhere near my elderly mum, so I am looking at Wicklow but even then, I will be at the top of my budget and there is no ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.
“I pay €1200 per month in rent, but I am moving into a relative’s home soon to live rent free for a few months to save more money. I have around €90k in savings – saved over 20 years – but even with that hefty deposit, I could only afford a tiny apartment near my mum. Even with my deposit and high salary, numerous banks have turned me down as I am self-employed.
“As a freelancer, I also don’t want the risk of putting all of my savings into a deposit. Single working people are invisible in Irish society. Over the course of my life, I will spend on average €1 million more than a person in a couple and I pay higher taxes – for what?
“Looking at emigrating for the second time but I can’t as that would leave my elderly Mum without a carer. Frustrated and disappointed but not surprised by the corruption in Irish politics.”
‘By 47 I was homeless and unemployed’
“I bought my first home when I was 28. By the time I was 47 I was homeless, unemployed and unemployable. The bank demanded the house be sold which it did eventually, leaving us with €70k of negative equity.
“We fell for the lifelong learning second chance myth and both my husband and I graduated with honours degrees followed by a Masters. Neither of us have ever been able to find work in our respective professions which we studied so hard for.
“After several years of renting in the private market we became RAS tenants in a privately owned property that we found ourselves. We are coming to the end of a five-year contract. Both of us have disabilities and we have no idea where we will be living next year. The council have no housing stock and we are not a priority as our housing needs are deemed to be met.
“I am 58 now and my husband is 64. The prospect of having to move house again and every few years is frightening. Between us we earn less than €40k a year and would never be able to buy a home again even if we earned more.
We are a forgotten generation, our dreams are dead. Too old to start again and too young to die. We don’t speak of our fears anymore to each other, and when my husband grows fearful of the future, I try to comfort him with words of hope. Both of us knowing the truth but neither can bear to hear it uttered aloud.
‘I’m saving for a deposit in my thirties’
“I’m an early thirties software engineer saving my deposit as a first time buyer, about 3/4s there. I’m renting an apartment in one of those investor owned developments for €2500 a month.
“I should have moved somewhere cheaper last year but I don’t want to face the substandard rentals with their mouldy-ridden rooms and wink-nudge illegal rent increases that will have you out on your arse for ‘renovations’ if you complain. It’s easier just to pay more and not have to deal with it.
“I’m saving about 1-2k a month and the mortgage calculators give me about 450k, so I’m luckier than most of my generation, there’s some end in sight. Ironic part is I don’t even want a house. I’d prefer a new apartment in the city but those are far above my budget.
“My parents are offering to help me with the deposit but I have siblings that need it more than I do. I feel guilty using their chance. Though in reality they’re probably going to have to wait for my parents to die before they’ll have enough. It just feels hopeless and if I feel like that – it’s hard to imagine how everyone feels.”
‘I was homeless – now I have my first house’
“Seven years ago, my mam, sister, and I found ourselves in a situation where our landlord wanted to sell up. We ended up having to present to homeless services. We were put in a hotel with no fridge, cooking, or laundry facilities. My mam has a long-term disability and these all just worsened her condition.
“Fast forward to this year and at 30, I have just bought my first house. My partner and I have left all our family, friends, and familiarities of Dublin behind and bought a two-bed house in Wexford Town. We have both been working remotely since the pandemic, so we felt it was the perfect time to leave Dublin.
In Dublin between us, our rent was €1,600 per month and we shared an apartment, our mortgage is now €500 per month between us.
“I am lucky I was able to catch a break because so many others aren’t. The housing crisis in this country has created a poverty trap that is almost impossible to get out of and is causing generational poverty.”
‘My family and I have lived with my dad for two years’
“I’m so embarrassed writing our housing story but unfortunately I’ve become used to this feeling of shame and very happy to share it and hopefully help highlight the issue of housing/having a home in Ireland.
“My partner and I are in our thirties and have two children, and currently we live with my Dad. I say currently but we’ve been here two years and I have no idea how we will leave.
“We were renting but our landlords moved home from abroad, rents had increased considerably from when we started and so we moved home to try and save. We are on the lower scale of middle income earners living in Wicklow so rents and housing is off the charts.
“We save what we can, we have no luxuries, a 17-year-old car and yet we have nowhere near enough for a deposit. My son has been diagnosed with a disability and needs OT, some behavioural psychology and speech and language… with three-year waiting lists we’ll have to go private which of course comes out of our savings.
“I feel constant shame at our situation, how we can’t give our kids a home and yet we’ve worked solidly for years. We can’t invite friends over, we can’t have a childminder for our home which is the best option for my son. And my Dad who worked his whole life now has a home filled with toys and mess.
“We earn just above the amount to get social housing supports and so we’re screwed. This country is only for those with inheritance or high income. This is not the life we planned for our family, we are doing everything we can to provide a home for our children but the whole system is against us, rental and ownership.”
‘I was refused the Rebuilding Ireland loan’
“Married, single income. Gross income of €76k last two years and actual yearly salary of €57k. Renting a house with parents in Dublin paying €1k and so far have €26k deposit.
“Banks can only provide a max €205k due to the 3.5x rule. Tried to apply to the Rebuilding Ireland loan and was refused due to my combined gross income being over €75k where I thought only guaranteed income was counted.
“My wife has a small business but doesn’t receive a salary from it. We don’t want to live in a small apartment and are looking to buy a house.”
‘I moved to Sweden – things are very different there’
“I waited just over six years on the list managed by Stockholm City Council. But now, I have a rent-controlled apartment for life if I want it. Almost like it’s mine. The goal is to buy in 3-5 years. But the security of this rental is priceless.
“I don’t need to live the life of a student in the rush to save a deposit. I can take my time. I’m getting the keys Monday to my 58m2, one-bed apartment, fifth-floor, south- and west-facing balcony catching sun most of the day, 15 minutes from the centre of Stockholm by metro, and three minutes’ walk from one of the biggest shopping centres.
“My rent will be €1070/month. Included in that is refuse, broadband, basic cable TV, heating and hot water. I’ll only have to pay for electricity, which will be €15-20/month. It will be unfurnished, so no random old furniture from the 1990s, and I can paint it as I please. Building quality is brilliant here.
“I must add that Swedes think €1070 is expensive for an apartment. To ease the housing crisis, the city council allows developers charge a bit more for new builds, and my apartment is in a brand new building.
Writing this, I know some will see me as smug. That’s not the intention. I just want to show what it’s like in another expensive European country – it’s actually not that expensive. The sad fact is that if you’re Irish and want a decent life, you have to leave one of the richest countries in the world to find it.
Michael: ‘We bought an apartment, then moved abroad’
“I’m 39, married with one child and another on the way. I’m currently living overseas, but renting out my small two-bed city centre apartment.
“I graduated out of college into the Celtic Tiger, and had a job in a good profession between 2004 and 2008.I was single then and had no interest in buying, even though mortgages may have been available to me. I left that job and a salary of about €65k just as the Celtic Tiger was coming to an end.
“Due to the recession then, rents were low. In 2016 I finally got an interest in buying a home. I had approximately €20k which was mostly my savings from my job in the Celtic Tiger years. In 2016 I was in a permanent job for the first time in years with a salary of approximately €50k. Back then that was enough to go house hunting in Dublin as a single person.
“In 2016 after about six months of searching I was able to buy a nice, small two-bed apartment in inner city Dublin for just under €165k. I lived there for four years, getting married and having our first child.
“In 2020 we decided to move overseas for a number of years due to the requirements of my wife’s career. The rent level is sufficient to meet the mortgage and other cost requirements.
“We hope to return to Ireland in 3-5 years time as a family of four. It is likely we will look to rent or buy a house then, as our apartment would be quite small for our family. In the meantime, the mortgage is ticking down on the apartment, so it should put us in a good financial position to buy when we return.”
‘I’m 40 and live with my parents’
“I am 40 years old and currently living with my parents. Due to rising rents, a house that was infested with rats, and two evictions I ended up moving between rentals five times in three years.
“I was evicted in early 2018 and again in early 2019. I became aware that house sharing was not something I could do forever, and living with the stress of rising rent and the threat of eviction was something I wanted to get out of if possible. I finally had a salary at a level that meant I could save and consider buying a home.
“I now have mortgage approval, the top of my budget is €225k because I am a single buyer. I saved the deposit on my own and am not in a position to get a ‘gift’, so I have no way to bridge the gap between my budget and the price of a small house or apartment in Dublin.
“I have changed my search away from the areas I would most like to live, like Cabra, Crumlin and Rialto because I am priced out by over €70k. I am being outbid on houses in my price point by up to €50k. Now at 40 years old, my options are to stay living at home or to re-enter the insecure, dysfunctional rental market.
“I realise I’m in an incredibly fortunate position concerning the Dublin housing market and it is mostly down to good timing and luck.”
‘Our mortgage approval has expired’
“I am in my 30s and have been renting for 12 years. Myself and my partner put down a deposit on three-bed terrace house in a North County Dublin estate, falling in the help to buy category.
“We got our eighth choice of house all dependent upon the date we sent in our Approval in Principle letter to the estate agent. We submitted this within two minutes of them asking for it. We had decided we would have taken any of the houses available. We should have moved in already but Covid has delayed our completion date until final quarter of 2021.
“Our full mortgage approval has now expired. My contract is coming to an end in two months. The bank needs a payslip from my new job before progressing our application to loan offer stage. I am currently looking for a new job. We are hopeful this will all still work out.”
‘I get resentful of friends who could move home to save’
“I’m a teacher. I’ve waited and saved and been promoted and never had a better opportunity to buy, or so I thought.
“I’ve been renting for 10 years. I was approved for First Time Buyers mortgage for the past six months. Single application. At the moment all houses in Dublin are more or less out of my price range. Apart from probate or doer-upper projects.
“I looked at a one bed apartment in D8. One next door sold in February for 250k. When I was last in the bidding the price was 268k. There’s just no supply available to general buyers it seems.
“As someone renting and saving I’ve become resentful of friends who moved home and saved twice as much or who were gifted deposits. I know I’m angry at the wrong people though.”
‘There is no help for single dads’
“I’m a divorced health worker. I had to leave the family home and get a deposit together so that I could have a place to see my kids.
“For years before I met my current partner I was below the poverty line, often going without food or electricity just so I could afford the rent of a place on my own so my kids could stay overnight. I was exempt from legal aid or any help whatsoever from the government. I also owed thousands in solicitors bills and would regularly come home to debt collectors’ letters.
“I feel that the government had no place for me in their plan the whole time and it was soul destroying. I will never be able to afford a house despite working since I was 14 and putting myself through university by night.
“Most other walks of life are accounted for in government plans but not single fathers. I am nearly 40 yrs old and heartbroken. Not because I could not buy a house but because I was never given the opportunity to do so.”
‘I sleep on the couch, my daughters share a bunk bed’
“I am single dad of two children. I live in Dublin city in a one-bed ground floor flat for past eight years. I pay at the moment €240 per week.
“I sleep in sitting room on the couch. My children sleep in small bedroom in a bunk bed. I work in healthcare and look after my children during the day. It hasn’t been easy. I wanted to apply for HAP, but they said I am earning too much.
“My children are getting older and we need more space, but there is nothing affordable for us or there are the same flats but more expensive. I am on the council list for eight years, but still nothing.”