Stress and despair - trying to buy a home in Ireland

Updated / Saturday, 17 Jul 2021 05:00

By Louise Byrne

Prime Time asked a question on our social media channels: What is happening with the property market in Ireland? People responded by sending in messages detailing their own experiences of trying to buy a home this year. The responses included despair, exasperation, and stress at the rising cost of properties in many areas. The testimonies illustrate the toll that house-hunting is taking and the lives that are being left on hold.

Bernie, 34, Dublin

Myself and partner are both from Dublin and hoped to buy on the northside. We moved in with his parents and have been there three-and-a-half years in an overcrowded house. We have our deposit ready but are outbid every time. The bank is asking us to get a gift from our parents but they can't afford that. Everyone keeps telling us to move outside of Dublin but we both work in the city centre and don't want to commute for two hours. If we started a family, our quality of life would be destroyed. An estate agent we regularly meet knows all too well that we are going to be outbid. He says, "I'll see you again next week, I'm sure." It's so depressing.

Sarah, 33, Dublin

I moved home from London over two years ago hoping to settle down and buy a home with my partner. We have saved a decent deposit of €80,000 and have "approval in principal" to borrow €350,000. But the prices just keep climbing. We have given up completely on buying a house in Dublin for fear of ending up in negative equity. We are now looking at renting again and it is so depressing. I am at breaking point. I am starting counselling next week. I regret moving home so much but have a career that I love here and uprooting everything again would be extremely difficult. We can't start a family while living with my parents. The alternative is to pay €1,500 a month for a studio apartment. I will not stretch to over €1,500 as the price of rent sickens me. Viewing rental properties this week has made me feel subhuman. The amount of money you are expected to fork out for an absolute shithole is degrading.

James, 36, Kildare

I am a single applicant earning €68,000 per year and living in Kildare. I currently pay €1,000 a month rent and save €1,000 a month. I have a partner and a four-year-old daughter, so I am looking for my forever home. I was approved for a mortgage of €206,000 and was declined for an exemption. I currently live in Naas and all my family are local so I would like to stay local too. But there are no properties available in my price range. The cheapest new home is €350,000. I am really at the end of my tether now, as our landlord has advised he is selling our current rental property. We will have to move home with our parents and see no future for a home of our own. It's a really depressing and stressful situation.

Roisin, 28, Dublin

We are first time buyers. One from Dublin one from Meath. We having been looking for over a year for a property. I'm a nurse working on-call shifts, requiring me to be a max of 20 minutes from my hospital in west Dublin. It has majorly narrowed the areas we can look to buy. We enquired about every new build estate in the location to either be told they were all sold off plans or the purchase price had risen out of our budget. We decided to try for a second-hand house and have been outbid every time (each time €60,000 to €70,000 above the asking price) The areas we have been looking at have gone from having 50-plus properties for sale a year ago to 12 today, the majority of which are apartments. It’s getting more frustrating and disheartening every time we annoy colleagues to get out of work early to go to yet another viewing, to only be outbid again!

Deirdre, 33, Galway

We found a very practical house in the country that suited our current needs. It was on the market for €315,000, but, after we offered the asking price, the sellers increased the price to €340,000 out of nowhere. We tried to negotiate and meet halfway but they wouldn't take a grand less then this new asking price. We also saw the 'dream house'. It went up at €365,000, but, when I went for a viewing, the current bid was €425,000. This is rural Galway – not Dublin 4!

Rachel, 33, Dublin

We moved home from Australia last September after over seven years to settle at home. We saved our deposit in Oz and are both working full time in Dublin. We have moved back home with our parents to save more. We’re looking to buy in Kilnamanagh, Tallaght, where we are both originally from. A house went up for €340,000 two weeks ago, was removed from and is now listed at €430,000. For us to purchase a home at the moment with what banks are offering, we would need up to €200,000 of our own savings to buy in the current market. It makes things impossible.

Conor, 31, Dublin

I'm a single buyer and I've been trying for the entire year to get a house, from virtual viewings to in person these days. I had one estate agent this week tell me they weren't going to put my offer through to the seller (€420,000 on a €430,000 house) as they felt "it wasn't representative of the market", so they decided to do another round of viewings before passing my offer on. I got an exemption from my bank through my broker but have since lost it, as I kept getting outbid, and was told today they have no space for more exemptions – so I'm even more limited.

Suzanne, 32, Galway

In October 2020, we got mortgage "approval in principle" but we are not able to drawdown due to my employer being on the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). We had no other choice but to move in with my 78-year-old father, as we cannot afford to pay €950 a month on rent, way more than we would pay for a mortgage. Now the EWSS scheme is going till December 2021, so even if something did come up within our price range it would be useless to us as we can't draw down. Our dreams of extending our family are completely put on the back burner as I cannot have another child living with my elderly father. We are completely devastated.

Cathy, 29, Dublin

I am living at home in my mother's house with my boyfriend (not by choice) and we both have decent jobs. We have been saving and have €50,000, which is very fortunate compared to others, yet we still can’t buy a house. The bidding wars are toxic. People keep saying to me just wait five years and then buy a home but I want to start a family and I don't feel I should have to put my life on hold because this government has let my generation down. Of course I have the option to rent but to get a decent apartment that's livable these days is nearly €2,000 – and then I would be trapped in the rental market, unable to save.

Kieran, 30, Dublin

I am currently still living with my parents and have a six-year-old daughter that I co-parent with her mother, though we are not together. Between the mortgage approval and my savings, my budget would be around €260,000. When I was approved first this looked like plenty to buy in Clondalkin. However, I hadn’t realised that the asking is just the starting price in a bidding war. I know I am in a privileged position to have mortgage approval, especially on my own, when there are people who can only dream of that. I also know that there are people who will say that I could move out of Dublin. However, my daughter is in Clondalkin, my family are in Clondalkin, most of my friends are in Clondalkin. My whole life is in Dublin and I don't see much point in moving to the far side of Kildare or Laois just for the sake of purchasing a property.

Kafil, 37, Dublin

My wife and I both have decent jobs in two banks with good salaries. We have been trying to buy for more than eight months but can’t see any hope. There is always an issue like damp or a low energy rating. Family planning is far away and we sometimes think we will have to move out of Ireland.

Vourneen, 36, Dublin

I’m a first-time buyer and, as it stands, if I’m "lucky", I can put my name on a waiting list for a new home that hasn't been built yet somewhere on the M50. I can look forward to a significant commute to work and mortgage repayments on the same "home" until I'm 67! All of the above is dependent on my parents being in a position to gift me €20,000... which they're not. They're retired.

Louise, 32, Dublin

I’m hoping to buy in the Clondalkin/Lucan areas. We've had viewings this year, but in the past three months we have viewed no homes because properties are out of our budget. We are just stuck. We don't want to buy a two-bedroom apartment as that limits us having more children, which is so unfair. Even buying an apartment and paying a mortgage and a property maintenance fee works out the same as repayments on a house. It’s just soul destroying!