Most support shared-equity scheme to buy a home, survey finds

Ibec says survey reveals level of pent-up demand in market

A residential construction site in Sandyford, Dublin. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/Bloomberg

A residential construction site in Sandyford, Dublin. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/Bloomberg

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About a third of people in the Republic say they would like to buy a home but very few are actually in a position to do so, a survey by employers’ group Ibec has found.

The survey also detected strong public support for Government measures to address housing availability and affordability, including support for its new shared equity scheme.

Ibec said the findings reflected “the scale of pent-up demand” in the housing market while noting the numbers expecting to buy greatly exceeded the likely level of supply.

The survey of 760 adults, carried out in April by marketing company Behaviour and Attitudes, found that 15 per cent of people here planned to buy a home in the next two years while 33 per cent said they would like to do be able to.

Nearly a third of renters saw getting approved for a mortgage as the main barrier to purchasing to home.

The Central Bank of Ireland’s mortgage measures restrict lending for most borrowers to 3.5 times income, which limits purchasing power in cities such as Dublin, where prices are high.

The survey found an overwhelming 82 per cent believe Government should introduce additional measures to improve the supply of affordable housing, while a majority (56 per cent) said they were in favour of the Government’s new shared equity scheme. About a third said they were interested in availing of it.

Inflation concerns

The initiative, aimed at boosting home ownership, would see the State taking a stake of up to 20 per cent in the purchase of a new home in a bid to bridge the affordability gap.

However, critics claim the scheme could prove inflationary.

Most survey respondents said Covid-19 had increased the importance of having a garden or an outdoor space while two-thirds said having extra space to use as a home office had become more important

A majority of younger participants said they would consider moving to rural areas for housing and quality-of-life factors.

“The current housing challenges will require a sustained policy focus on delivering increased supply of high quality and affordable stock. In order to ensure sufficient allocation of capital and industry resources to the delivery of new housing stock, the timing of other priorities such as the retrofitting of existing stock may need to be adjusted. Social dialogue can provide a mechanism through which these potentially competing priorities can be best approached,” said Fergal O’Brien of Ibec.

The Central Bank of Ireland will begin an overarching review of its mortgage lending rules next month, the first since the measures were introduced in 2015.

It will consider the effectiveness of rules and whether they have achieved their aims. The review comes amid another acceleration in house-price growth, and an outcry over foreign investment funds bulk-buying family homes.