Home ownership must be a legitimate aspiration for single people

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
08 May 2021

Following an investigation by Newstalk that revealed single people on typical salaries can only afford homes in seven counties, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has said Government’s decision to develop housing policy for dual-income households is extremely dangerous.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Our dysfunctional housing market has let down too many people. Accessing affordable, secure housing is impossible for too many people, and particularly single people.

“More than 400,000 people in Ireland live alone, yet every time the Government talk about housing it’s based on joint incomes. Government continues to set housing policy that is based on the assumption that people should aspire to couple up.

“This is further evidence by the Government’s statement on regulating investors from buying whole estates of family homes in the surburbs as opposed to also also applying it for apartments developments in cities. The boom in Build To Rent developments are also ignoring the need of single people who want to buy in inner city neighbourhoods.

“This misguided policy approach is constricting and deprives single people of the opportunity to own their own home.

“No housing system, or indeed economy, should be trapping people into seeing marriage or relationships as economic leverage to buy a home. This has a particularly damaging impact on women.

“If a woman experiencing domestic violence lives with her abuser, escaping a domestic abusive relationship often means facing into homelessness. Between March and August 2020, 441 women were admitted to a domestic abuse refuge, Safe Home, or Supported Housing. However, there were an additional 1,351 unmet requests for refuge due to a lack of space. Many women may feel pressure to remain in an abusive home in order to avoid homelessness.

“We also know that women earn less money than men and therefore may experience increased difficulty navigating Ireland’s unaffordable housing market. Similarly, many adult children are still living with their parents due being unable to afford a house on their own.

“Single people aren’t transient and single people aren’t just young. Being single isn’t just a stage of life that people should want to get out of. Home ownership is a legitimate aspiration for all people – single or married, young or old – and we need to put in place supports for collective approaches to home ownership for low and middle income earners.”

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