Dublin is not Berlin when it comes to rental landscape

German capital has strong rental controls, lower rents and more available apartments

New figures show that one in four Dublin residents is now a renter. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA Wire

New figures show that one in four Dublin residents is now a renter. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA Wire

 

With a housing crisis that shows little sign of abating, it isn’t too surprising to see that people are increasingly turning away from the idea of owning their own home.

New figures show that one in four Dublin residents is now a renter, with the number of owner-occupiers in the capital falling below 60 per cent for the first time since records began last year.

With property prices continuing to rise, there are some who have little option than to put their trust in the rental market. However, for anyone imagining a bright future in which renting is not only normal, but a pleasant experience, it is worth remembering that Dublin is not Berlin.

The Government may have introduced some measures to help out those facing spiralling rents over the last year or so, but the jury is very much out on whether such steps will eventually alleviate the crisis, or as many suspect, make the situation worse.

Moreover, while developers here are being encouraged to get building again, it is still going to be a number of years before supply meets demand.

Bleak prospect

Berlin by comparison benefits from strong rental controls that in previous years have led to lower rents, and until recently at least, it also had an abundance of apartments available.

Another notable difference between Berlin and Dublin is that renting as you get older in Ireland is a bleak prospect.

The reality is that most people living in Ireland are caught in a situation in which owning a home is still the easiest way to accumulate wealth. With few alternatives outside of home ownership for those wishing to save for their retirement, it feels for some as though there is little option but to buy.

With many also caught in a pensions trap that relies on them being rent-free by the time they retire, it becomes obvious that few look forward to a future in which having a mortgage doesn’t play a part.

Add in a market in which security of tenure and rent certainty are aspirations rather than reality and you begin to see why renting remains an unattractive proposition here.

There has been much made of Ireland having a obsession with owning property but the alternatives aren’t pretty.

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