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Four in 10 under-35s in Dublin say they want to buy a first home but cannot afford it

A huge proportion of younger Dubliners are experiencing some aspect of the housing crisis

The poll shows the nature and extent of the housing crisis, and how it affects different cohorts of the population in different ways. Photograph: Getty Images

Almost four in 10 people under 35 in Dublin say they are trying to buy their first home but cannot afford to, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll finds.

In a series of questions about people’s attitudes to the housing issue, the poll also finds that among those trying to buy their first home but who cannot afford to, more than half were finding it hard to save the necessary deposit.

Saturday’s poll shows the nature and extent of the housing crisis, and how it affects different cohorts of the population in different ways.

Just over half of respondents (54 per cent) say they own their own homes, with 16 per cent in private rented accommodation, 12 per cent in local authority housing, and 17 per cent living at home with their parents or other family members.

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Asked what housing challenges they were facing, 10 per cent said that they were trying to buy their own home “but cannot afford to”. This figure rises to 16 per cent in Dublin, and to 39 per cent among Dublin residents under 35, the poll shows.

A further 6 per cent said their home was too small for a growing family, while 3 per cent said their home was too large as their family had grown up.

Lack of public transport was cited by 13 per cent, while 8 per cent said they were struggling to make mortgage repayments or rent. “Anti-social behaviour in our area” concerns 9 per cent of respondents, while 4 per cent cited long commutes and 6 per cent a lack of facilities such as shops and schools.

The poll also asked those who were trying to buy their first home about the nature of the difficulties they are facing.

Half said they were finding it hard to save for the deposit, while 18 per cent said they are “happy with the amount the bank is willing to lend but can’t find a house at that price”.

A further 22 per cent of these would-be first-time buyers say that they can find a house but “the bank is not willing to lend the required amount even though we can manage the repayments”.

The banks are “not willing to lend to me/us at all” for another 18 per cent, while 21 per cent said mortgage interest rates are too high.

Mortgage or rent

The poll shows the extent to which the housing crisis is most acute in Dublin, and especially among young Dubliners.

Amongst this cohort in Dublin, in addition to the 39 per cent who cannot afford to buy a home, 14 per cent say they are struggling to pay a mortgage or rent, while 10 per cent say their home is too small for their growing family. And 14 per cent cite anti-social behaviour in their area.

It means a huge proportion of younger Dubliners are experiencing some aspect of the housing crisis.

The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Respondents were interviewed at their own homes, a change from February’s poll which was conducted via telephone because of Covid restrictions.

The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times