A young couple who are hoping to buy their first home have described the current rental market as a “black hole”.
Ciara McCaughey (26) and her long-term boyfriend Eoghan have been saving for a deposit on a house for over three years and despite considering themselves lucky to be able to live with their families, they’ve faced challenges with their deposit along the way.
“Myself and Eoghan started looking for a house in March this year, but we knew that I was looking for another job and that I’d be put on probation, so we’re looking to scope out the market in the mean-time,” Ciara told Independent.ie.
“It’s a silver lining in a way because we’re saving money, but house prices are rising all the time. We’re moving forward but standing still at the same time.”
The Walkinstown-native said the couple have “constant fears” for when they eventually place a bid on the house of their dreams.
“We’re constantly worried that we’re going to be outbid when we start looking again and find the dream home,” she explained.
“There’s also that constant fear that we’re going to be bidding against ourselves, is there actually another buyer or do they just want to make the most from this house?”
The couple both currently live with their families in Dublin 12- but some of their friends haven’t been as lucky, Ciara explains.
“We’re very lucky in the fact that we live at home, but I have friends and I know other people of my generation who can’t live at home because they’re working in Dublin but they’re from down the country.
“They can’t commute so they’re renting in Dublin in places like Rathfarnham or on the edges of town, and they’re paying an extortionate amount.
“Our generation is throwing their rent money into a black hole. Will they ever be able to buy a house?”
Central Bank rules mean first-time buyers must have a down payment of at least 10pc, with 20pc required by other borrowers.
According to the Central Bank report ‘Household Credit Market Report 2018’, people in Ireland are taking out longer-term mortgages compared to other European countries.
The report added that the average Dublin income for a new buyer was €85,334, and €66,728 for buyers outside Dublin. First-time buyers are generally borrowing 3.1 times their income.
A solution to the current “scary” housing situation isn’t a simple one Ciara says but believes that increased education around applying for mortgages should be provided to millennials, describing the process as a “challenging” one.
“When we were shopping around in the banks and trying to figure out a bank that were going to go with, there were a lot of banking and financial terms that we didn’t understand. We’re not taught that in school.
“We’re taught algebra, not about how to file tax returns.
“We’re not taught how to get mortgages so that’s challenging. Something that could help with that is just educate us better, making the process a bit easier.
“The whole deposit thing is scandalous too. For a first-time buyer I think they should be able to look at the rent you’re paying.
“So if you’re paying €800-€1,000 a month in an apartment in Rathmines, they (the banks) should be able to see that as savings or as a way that you’re able to pay it back.”
She added that the cost of houses should be regulated, and more houses should be available.
“The housing situation is pretty scary at the moment, it’s insane how much houses are going for. I just watched that show on RTÉ, ‘Find Me a House’.
“There was a huge house going in Carlow for €595,000 and I’m looking at two up two down for €320,000. It’s just incomparable.
“We need more houses, we need better houses and we need to stop making them so expensive.”
Earlier this week, Independent.ie revealed that a special savings scheme to help first-time buyers is being considered as part of Budget 2019.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is examining how such a scheme might work on foot of demands from Fianna Fáil. The initiative would see house hunters entitled to open a savings account for their deposit which the Government would top up with a generous donation when they go to buy a house.