‘The market is overpriced, typically the bidding goes way over the asking price’

From Dublin to Tipperary – three house hunters respond to Affordable Housing Bill

Ken and Liz  McCollum in Tipperary: ‘A house we viewed last week has an asking price offer from someone in England who can’t even view it. It’s disheartening.’

Ken and Liz McCollum in Tipperary: ‘A house we viewed last week has an asking price offer from someone in England who can’t even view it. It’s disheartening.’

 

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien was given approval to publish the Affordable Housing Bill at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Under the Bill’s proposed shared equity scheme the State can take a 30 per cent equity share in a first-time buyer’s home.

The properties are subject to a price cap of €450,000 on houses in Dublin city and Dún Laoghaire while the limit is set at €400,000 in Cork, Fingal, Galway city, South Dublin and Wicklow.

The lowest caps are €225,000 for counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Sligo and Tipperary.

Prospective buyers gave The Irish Times their views on the shared equity scheme:

Liz McCollum (36), a deputy school principal, has been renting for the past 15 years and is looking to buy a home with her husband in south Tipperary. The couple have two young children and Ms McCollum said they would “love to be settled somewhere” for their five-year-old to start school in September but believe “it’s doubtful at this stage”.

“My husband stepped back from work to raise our kids when I finished my second maternity leave. So technically we are a joint application but with one income,” she said.

“We are hoping to buy in south Tipperary where the affordable cap is €225,000 I believe. Our current town is Clonmel, which has a lot of antisocial behaviour and a cap of this amount would only allow you to buy in a small amount of areas. Rents and house prices are very high due to large multinationals in the town.

“I have tried in the past five years to get a mortgage but have been offered paltry amounts. It’s only this year we got approval...We have been actively viewing since October.

“A house we viewed last week has an asking price offer from someone in England who can’t even view it. It’s disheartening. We want to have a third child but literally have to choose between a decent home and a child.”

Colm Murtagh (30), works in financial services and has been looking to buy in the Dublin area for the past year. He has now decided to postpone his search while he switches jobs.

“The market is overpriced, typically the bidding goes way over the asking price and those people may not even go ahead with it,” he said.

“I don’t think these new measures will make any difference. They seem quite low in ambition. Six thousand homes over four years? I don’t think that’s going to make much difference.

“The Government hasn’t tackled some of the other issues around housing, whether that be planning permission, even increasing the number of construction workers.

“Even the cost rental model is very reliant on developers opting in so I wouldn’t have much confidence in it. I don’t really see anything from yesterday that is going to dramatically increase supply which would at least stabilise prices or push them downwards.”

Sarah Martin returned from the UK just over two years ago where she owned her own property. Working in animal health, she is now back living in her family home and hoping to buy in Dublin.

“With lockdown and viewings stopping over the past few months, it’s been crazy. I haven’t even got to bid on places because when you contact the agents about them, despite having not seen the houses, they’re already €25,000 or €35,000 over the asking price,” she said.

“It’s crazy to think €450,000 is what’s affordable.

“I didn’t even look at Daft [property webiste] this morning and that’s usually the first thing I do every morning. I didn’t even have it in me to look today because I don’t know what’s going to happen to the prices. I don’t see how it’s going to help them. As far as I see, it just gives every developer the free rein to go ‘our cheapest house is €450,000’.”