Should we continue renting or is it a good time to buy?
This is a dilemma many growing families have all over Ireland at the moment
No one can predict the market with absolute clarity or accuracy. Photograph: iStock
We’ve been renting a house in Cork for more than a year and a half. It’s fine but we have a second baby on the way and we need a bigger place with a garden. Do you think we should continue renting and just try to find a bigger place when the lease is up at the end of the year, or is it a good time to buy? Will prices continue to fall? Maybe we should continue renting on short leases and look to buy later in the year?
This is a good question. It is a dilemma that many growing families have all over Ireland at the moment. I will assume from your question that you probably signed up to a one- or two-year lease with your landlord. Therefore, from your current tenancy point of view, you have security of tenure as you are on a Part 4 Tenancy under the original Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and subsequent amendments to this Act in recent times. So you can rest assured your landlord cannot ask you to leave without giving the appropriate notice and periods set out in the legislation. The reason for this is that Part 4 runs in parallel with a fixed term lease after six months. That means that if you want to stay on when the lease is up at the end of the year, you can discuss this option with your landlord and point out you are on/in a Part 4 tenancy, giving you time to find a new property to purchase.
Although you stated that you may need a bigger place with a garden, if your monthly rent is reasonable, this would put you in a good position to continue to save for a new home to buy. In essence, take the short-term inconvenience of living in smaller accommodation for the long-term goal of buying your ideal family home with that lovely garden.
You mention prices continuing to fall. This is not necessarily going to continue, and no one can predict the open sales market with absolute clarity or accuracy, therefore I would advise you to start looking for your home now. Looking up property websites, making inquiries, viewing houses, making offers, getting surveys done and everything else that goes with buying a house can take months and months. It’s always best to ensure you study the pros and cons such as location, BER rating, costs and so on. There is nothing stopping you from monitoring how the market is going and making informed decisions on the back of how it is performing, when is the best time to buy, or not to purchase at all.
Marcus O’Connor is a chartered surveyor estate agent and property manager and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie