(Photo: Hayden Moore)

The Housing Crises

The Irish Housing bubble was a time in Ireland during the Celtic Tiger years when the price of Irish real estate was at an all-time high. In 2006 the price of real estate in Ireland peaked, with the average household in Dublin, Ireland costing upwards of €450,000 and roughly €300,000 nationwide. It was during this time that Banks invested heavily in real estate, the population was exuberant and never taught that the boom would end. If you wanted a loan to buy that house from the 100-page property pull-out in the Irish Times, you got it. If you wanted to go on a month cruise around the Caribbean, you got it. If you wanted to buy that Bond-like Aston Martin DB9 you’ve always dreamt of, you got it. But then the bubble burst in 2007 and mayhem ensued.

Today, over 500 repossession cases are heard each week in Trim District Court with families pleading to be allowed to keep a roof over their heads. They say home is where the heart is, that your home is that one place where you always feel the deepest affection for, but how can a person feel that way when the cost to live in their own homes is burying them in debt leading to eventual repossession? Over 75,000 mortgages are in arrears today across Ireland, which is up more than 33,000 since 2014.

A few years ago, the sheer cost to stay here in Ireland was eye-wateringly excruciating in comparison to the standard income of an Irish home. Over 91,000 families are currently on the Social Housing List and expected to stay there for up to 8 years. Housing Assistance Payment puts long-term rental agreements in place, in the private rental sector and is expected to replace the Rent Supplement.

I spoke with Christina Park, 39, a single mother from Tallaght, about HAP and housing in Dublin compared to outside of the capital. “The main problem is that the normal family, they get their mortgage approved but then when it comes to actually getting a property they mostly get outbid by private investors. These vulture funds have the money straight away and can lodge it to undercut anybody else.

“What you see happening then is 80% of houses in the country are owned by private landlords. Which has a lot to play in the housing crises because they are not renting out their property to the social welfare payments, people who may actually be homeless, because they just do not want to deal with the Social Welfare payment system.
“I have been a homeowner since I had my first child at 21, and have been one of the many who’s mortgages fell into arrears to point of almost repossession. I sold my home here in Tallaght for under €150,000 recently and I’m being forced out of the county I was born and raised in, and where my family live. I simply cannot afford to buy another home in Dublin, I have to look elsewhere like Cavan, Roscommon, and Wicklow because the price difference is worlds apart.
Photo showing the cost of the average cost of a property nationwide as of July ’16 (Photo: Daft.ie)

It is known that 1-in-3 people who are either renting or mortgaging their homes are struggling to pay rent every single month. I spoke with Mary Byrne, 33, a woman who was hit by the bursting bubble about the struggles of paying rent and the affect it can have.

“Myself and my husband where originally renting a property in Kilnamanagh at a ridiculous price but we could afford it at the time. But when the economic crash happened we were forced to downsize to a small 2-bedroom apartment in Clondalkin, we didn’t really realise at the time how bad it was and took it in our stride. Subsequently we had to move back into my parent’s home in Jobstown because it became overwhelming to pay the rising rent and we felt like we weren’t really getting the best bang for our buck because at the end of the day we were paying someone else’s mortgage.
Two lonely for sale pickets in Tallaght (Photo: Hayden Moore)
“I got pregnant when I was living back home in 2013, and was actually diagnosed with post-natal depression after the birth. Look at this way, we were living somewhere we felt we didn’t belong, trying to raise a family in an overcrowded house we didn’t even own. The diagnoses took a serious hit on our marriage as it brought around this horrendous conflict between not only my partner and I, but with my mam and dad as well. We moved back and forth between my parents, and my husband’s parent’s homes for years whilst trying our very best to save every penny we had.
“It was this vicious cycle to be honest, and it just was not a healthy environment to be raising my child in, it was toxic! It was this absolute nightmare we taught would never end, but we broke the cycle and finally got mortgage approved and purchased our first property last year.