21 years to save for a deposit in Dublin as housing crisis deepens

Research shows challenges faced by average earners looking to buy the average house in the capital

It could take the average worker renting in Dublin up to 21 years to save enough to buy an average house in the capital, new research shows. Dwellers in Galway and Cork fare better, with much lower rents and house prices meaning a first-time buyer will need to save for less than three years to get on the property ladder – provided they spend the minimum needed to survive.

Research carried out by Prosperous Financial has found that Dubliners earning the average wage (€36,919 a year) are left with just €127.24 per month after covering rent and living expenses. This is based on monthly rent of €1,500 for a one-bed apartment in the capital. But saving €127 a month, earning interest of just 0.25 per cent, means that to save a deposit of €32,567 – enough to buy the average house worth €325,671 – will take more time than most people can afford.

"This means it will take them 21 years to get the deposit together. What is worse, is that this assumes the average house price won't have increased in 21 years' time," says Eoin Magee, principal of Prosperous Financial, although wage increases, which could afford a greater amount to be saved, could offset the impact of this.

Even where putative homebuyers can cut down on their rent, by sharing a property or renting with their partner, and bump up their monthly savings to €300 a month, it would still take nine years to save enough for a deposit in Dublin. In such situations, Magee argues that unless a potential homebuyer starts saving such amounts at the age of 21, they won’t be buying a home in the capital in their twenties. The last time Mr Magee conducted this survey in 2015, he found that it would take seven and a half years to save for such a house in Dublin.


In Cork, where rents average about €758 for a one-bed apartment, someone on the average wage could secure a deposit of about €26,000 to buy a house worth €261,000 in less than three years; however this would depend on the buyer spending just enough to live on, and putting away about €800 a month. It’s a similar story in Galway, where rents/cost of living, are about the same as Cork.

And with house prices continuing to increase by double digit numbers – up by 13 per cent in the year to February for example – and supply at record lows, there can be intense competition for houses, making it difficult to buy a home even when an applicant has the finances in place.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times