Home ownership 'increasingly the preserve of those on higher incomes'

Home ownership 'increasingly the preserve of those on higher incomes'

More needs to be done to make prices affordable, particularly for first-time buyers.

Home ownership "is increasingly becoming the preserve of those on higher incomes", it has been claimed, with a steep rise in houses being bought jointly over the last decade.

Brokers Ireland was responding to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed that properties purchased jointly increased from 47% in 2010 to 60.3% in 2021.

The median age of purchasers rose from 35 to 39 between 2010 and 2021, across all transactions, the CSO said.

The median refers to the middle figure in a row of numbers sorted from top to bottom, as opposed to the average.

For sole purchasers, the median age rose from 34 to 41 from 2010 to 2021, while the median for joint purchasers increased from 35 to 38 in the same period.

The rise in age and joint ownership levels for people buying homes "starkly demonstrates the social change being forced upon society by the housing crisis", Brokers Ireland said.

Director of financial services at the broker lobbying organisation, Rachel McGovern, called for the Government to revisit its housing plan "and energise it with far greater urgency".

Negative impact on society

"These kinds of societal changes where home ownership is increasingly becoming the preserve of those on higher incomes or those fortunate enough to have family support, will reverberate negatively across society in the years ahead, unless addressed," she said.

Much more needs to be done to make prices affordable, particularly for first-time buyers, Ms McGovern said.

She said that while mortgage rules imposed by the Central Bank in 2015 were necessary, it has led to many aspiring buyers being "squeezed out by their overly strict nature". 

The rules were introduced at a time when house prices were much lower, and interest rates were on a downward trajectory, she said.

The CSO found that the median income of purchasers stood at €71,300 in 2021. For a sole purchaser in 2021, it was €46,000, while it was €87,700 for a joint purchaser, it said.

Lure of Cork

The lure of Cork for its natives is apparent in the data, which show that from 2010 to 2021, nearly nine out of 10 property-buying individuals in Cork purchased a home in the county. 

This was the highest proportion in Ireland, followed closely by Dublin, the CSO said.

The number of homes purchased rose from 19,300 in 2010 to 46,420 by 2021, with the majority of buyers not having children.

Nearly 35.5% were a sole purchaser without children, while just over 32% were a joint purchaser without children.

Just over 28% were a joint purchaser with children, while just 4.3% were a sole purchaser with children.

Just over six in 10 people who bought a home in 2021 were aged between 25 and 44. Only 6.5% of purchasers were aged 65 and over and 1.4% were 24 and under.

The median income of purchasers rose from €48,600 in 2012 to €71,300 by 2021, the CSO said.

For sole purchasers, the median income rose from €34,500 in 2012 to €46,000 by 2021.

The median for joint purchasers increased from €67,300 to €87,700 over the same time period.

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