Government’s investor led approach is locking generation rent out of the dream of home ownership

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
11 May 2021

The ESRI report due to be published this week bluntly shows Government’s investor led approach is locking generation rent out of the dream of home ownership. Labour housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan said the State’s reliance on investors and its build to rent policy is depriving young people from any opportunity of owning a home with the majority worse off than their parents.

Senator Moynihan said:

“The ESRI report makes for very depressing reading this morning. The pandemic has shone a light on the fact that Ireland is no country for young people – young people were disproportionately impact by the 2008 financial crisis and the housing crisis that has boiled and bubbled since then. The investor led approach taken to address the housing crisis and will only get worse unless we take action for a State led house building programme and affordable rental sector.

“The research starkly lays out the diminished opportunity for our young people to dream. Young people are less likely to be able to own their own home at the same age as their parents. Ireland had the highest rent increases in the EU since 2015 and since February 2016 rents have risen by 25% under Fine Gael supported by Fianna Fáil. These five wasted are now being compounded by a housing policy mindset which is investor led.

“The investor led approach of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil has led to a generation rent who are worse off than their parents. Young people are experiencing huge rents which are entirely unaffordable and the response of the government has been to allow Build to Rent to dominate our permissions system, ensuring that the next generation will also be locked out as none of the supply will be to buy.

“Many adult children are living with their parents due to the impossibility of meeting the cost of rent, particularly for anyone whose job has been impacted by the pandemic. In the midst of a housing crisis where hard working young people are effectively locked out of buying a home due to consistently poor, speculator-led housing policy, the Minister must act and withdraw investor funds from our housing policy.

“We need to take radical policy action to change the course of the housing pandemic and its impact on young people to prevent another generation emigration. Labour has long called for the reintroduction of a Rent to Buy scheme through our affordable housing plan where a person with a tenancy for three years that successfully pays all their rent would see it turned into a deposit for the property that they will then go on to own.

“Renters should be allowed to dream of owning their own home but because many renters are paying up to €500 more than they would for a mortgage, they are trapped and can’t afford the upfront saving despite their technical ability to afford it. Labour want to see a scheme introduced where rental payments and deposit savings are counted as part of credit ratings to help first time buyers get on the market.

“Young people are not just an ‘emotional story’ to talk about the housing crisis through. This report lays bare the stark reality and lived experience of Ireland’s young people who, despite working harder than any generation before, cannot catch a break. They are paying through the teeth in rent and the Minister continues to create policy incentivising investment funds to make a profit.

“We will lose a generation of young people fleeing this country if something doesn’t change now.”

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