Home ownership in Republic falls as renting levels soar

New data from Central Statistics Office detail changing nature of household tenure in State

Homeownership rates in the Republic have fallen significantly since the financial crash, while the number of households renting has risen by 56 per cent, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The changing nature of household tenure in the State is detailed in the CSO’s latest tenure and household figures, which draw on a range of data sources including the most recent population census.

They show the percentage of households in the Republic that owned their home outright or with a mortgage fell from 74.7 per cent in 2006 to 67.6 per cent in 2016.

Within this, the number who owned their homes with a mortgage experienced the steepest decline, falling from 40.6 per cent to 31.6 per cent during the 10-year period.



At the same time, the percentage of households renting, either from a private landlord or from a local authority, rose from 20.6 per cent in 2006 to 27.6 per cent in 2016.

In terms of actual numbers, households classified as renting rose from 301,306 in 2006 to 469,671 in 2016, which equates to an increase of 56 per cent.

Households which “owned outright” – in other words without a mortgage – were the main tenure type in 2016, at 36 per cent, a slight increase from 34.1 per cent in 2006.

The CSO also compared disposable income levels across tenure types. Individuals in households that owned their homes via a mortgage had the highest average disposable income in 2018 of €32,431, followed by those who owned their homes outright (€26,476).

Individuals who rented from private landlords had an average disposable income of €23,850, compared to €15,389 for those who rented from local authorities.

Labour market

The figures also show that the rate of unemployment among those who “rented from a local authority” fell from 21.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 to 17.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2019, reflecting the strength of the labour market in the run-up to Covid.

Family units comprising a “couple with children” had the highest labour force participation rate, at 71.6 per cent, compared to a “single-person household” at 46.7 per cent. The State average was 62.1 per cent.

The highest labour force participation rate was 75.3 per cent among private renters, while the lowest rate was 44.5 per cent for people renting from local authorities.

A “couple with children” totalling four people was the most common family unit category in 2016 by number of persons, at 240,762 households, or 14.2 per cent of all households.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times