Rent trap: I’m leaving Dublin as my homeowning dreams will never be realised

We asked renters if they thought they could ever buy a home in Ireland. Here’s what they said

Caitlin, Dublin

I’m 39, I’ve been renting since I left home at 18. I will never own my own home unless I meet someone who can go halves on a mortgage. As long as I’m single, I’ll be a renter. My rent is €800 per month and I just cannot save for a deposit on my own to get a house: all the other expenses eat away at any chance of saving. It is crushing that I’m not enough, as an individual, to have my own front door. I’ve lived in every sort of house, and slept on couches between rentals. I have a good job but the ownership market doesn’t smile on anyone, never mind on someone with a single income. I’m leaving Dublin as my homeowning dreams will never be realised here.

Peter, Limerick

I fully believe I will never be able to own a home. I moved back to Limerick to live with my parents and save for a mortgage two years ago after spending a number of years in Dublin. During that time the house price increases have totally outstripped what I have saved so in essence I'm almost back to square one. In Dublin it's even worse. I am now looking at emigrating at 31 because the cost of living in Ireland is spiralling out of control. We don't build houses or apartments for single people so I am competing with couples, local authorities and approved housing bodies. I earn over the median wage and life isn't worth it in Ireland any more.

Amet, Dublin

My wife and I are renting in south Dublin and we have been saving for a deposit. I can't see that happening in the near future. We make more than €175,000 a year, we pay almost half of that as tax and one-quarter of the remainder is going on rent. Every time I check the houses prices in south Co Dublin I realise that owning a home is not realistic in this country. I know some highly paid people who decided to leave the country for good so they can afford a place to live. Every time my wife and I look at house prices we start the conversation about moving to the US where I can pay less tax and afford to live in a good place. Some people may blame immigrants like me for the problem, but they are forgetting that we are living in a country that builds less than 20,000 dwellings annually while in Finland, the country of almost the same size, [they were] building an average of 40,000 dwellings before Covid.

Niamh, Dublin

I’m a single working professional on €100,000 salary, renting a one-bed for €1,500 monthly, unable to buy a two-bed property in Dublin due to high property prices and outbidding. Governments past and present should hang their heads in shame on the crisis they caused in the housing/property market.


Kafil, Dublin

Government is taking one housing initiative after another, which means all the previous schemes have failed. Also low-earning people are getting all kinds of support like social housing, HAP [housing assistance payment], medical support and so forth whereas average-earning people get nothing from the State despite paying high taxes. Also, rent has no limit in Dublin. Moreover, there is HTB [help-to-buy] support for the first time for new-build buyers, but why not for second-hand homebuyers? As a result average-earning people are stuck in a vicious circle. I am a migrant living in Ireland for the last four years. My wife and I are bankers and earning a handsome salary but we can’t keep saving due to high rent, and we are not able to buy property due to insane bidding. It’s a kind of loophole. We are thinking we will move out of Ireland if the situation continues like this. What’s the point of having a good job if there is no place that we can call home at the end of the day?

Name withheld

I am on a decent salary and was renting in Dublin, but thanks to remote working I’ve been able to live with my parents (albeit I am far too old to still be living with my parents, I feel like an utter embarrassment that I have to resort to this, but many others are forced to do the same).

I don’t expect to ever own a house in Ireland, and I have primary and masters degrees. The previous generation are scalping us for all we can afford, wages have stagnated and cost of living keeps rising.

House prices are rising too fast and rent would eat up any money I’d try to put away for the deposit. On top of that is the high cost of living in Dublin, and then I am expected to start investing in a pension which I can’t afford. My employer is a large accounting firm and does not offer pension support for younger folks so my attempts at private investment will be eroded by tax (Ireland’s taxes on ETFs – exchange-traded funds – and stocks are ludicrous and nudge us to invest in property that we cannot afford, exacerbating the housing crisis).

Politicians and the older generation are beyond out of touch with what a squeeze is being put on people below the age of 35. I am relying on splitting bills and groceries with my parents. My previous tenancy was utterly abysmal and once again shows how skewed the rental market is for landlords. We had no hot water for three months, a special boiler system had to be placed in our sink after months begging our landlord. The landlord did a hack DIY job splitting one house into two accommodations – three people upstairs, four downstairs. Despite the split the landlord did not make changes to the heating and oil, so the upstairs did not have working heating and had to rely on electric plug-in heaters. Black mould in three parts of the house – my bedroom, the kitchen and toilet – was raised multiple times and never fixed. Landlord raised the rent by the max 4 per cent over the 2½ years I stayed. He offered to reduce rent by €50 when Covid-19 hit. Most of the house was held together with DIY jobs, broken hinges and draughty windows. All this for €1,800 a month (I assume he was charging €2,400 for the four downstairs.) All payments had to be in cash. The recent comments from Leo Varadkar that my rent is someone's income has utterly enraged me. They are so beyond wilful ignorance, I hope to leave the country once Covid restrictions are finished and I don't intend coming back.

Brian, Dublin

Leo Varadkar said that “one person’s rent is another person’s income”. The people who can afford to rent a property are giving money to already rich people. What about the thousands of people in their 30s who are living at home with their parents because they can’t afford to rent? There is a whole generation fundamentally locked out of the property market and people like Leo Varadkar don’t get it.

Conor, Dublin

We know we will never be able to buy a home in Ireland while renting. We've given up and are emigrating in the very near future. This crisis simply doesn't impact the core Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voter base so they will never do anything meaningful to tackle the crisis.