Thursday 23 March 2017

Middle class 'Generation Y' feels pinch

Huge influx of young couples into the Dublin commuter belt is putting pressure on house prices, making them unaffordable, writes Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A huge influx of young couples into the Dublin commuter belt is putting pressure on house prices, making them unaffordable. Photo: Reuters
A huge influx of young couples into the Dublin commuter belt is putting pressure on house prices, making them unaffordable. Photo: Reuters

The under-35 generation will be increasingly 'snookered' when it comes to buying a house - according to trends highlighted in the latest population figures.

The census returns show overall population growth, in many of the towns and villages within commuting distance of Dublin, is now the highest since Famine times.

The huge influx of young couples into the Dublin commuter belt, is already putting unprecedented pressure on house prices in a number of areas, regarded as "dormitory'' locations for the capital.

If this trend is to continue at its current level - it will push prices outside the affordability bracket for many of those desperate to get on the housing ladder, according to property experts. Only a small minority of middle income earners classified as ''Generation Y' can now afford a home in many parts of the Dublin metropolitan area.

But experts point out this latest population bulge in "commuter land'' is going to pose even greater pressures for potential house buyers fleeing the city.

The unrelenting rise in population will inevitably force prices upwards in many parts of counties Kildare and Meath.

The latest CSO findings is yet further confirmation the capital's commuter belt is attracting ever increasing numbers of young professionals who work in the capital, but who can't afford to live there.

Figures show the rate of population growth in many of these dormitory towns is now the highest in the country.

And a further sign of continuing pressure in the demand for housing in commuter land is that the lowest percentage of vacant dwellings in the country is in Kildare.

Overall, the unrelenting move to urban Ireland also suggests Ireland's other main centres of population will see demand for housing significantly increase, in the coming years.

Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford have all grown faster than their surrounding rural hinterlands.

This trend is also likely to push up prices for city based housing in these counties, according to sources in the property sector.

Galway city in particular has had a long tradition of house prices which have been among the most expensive in the country. This was dented somewhat in the recession years - but local sources point out segments of the market have dramatically picked up in the last two years.

This is reflected in the more sought-after areas of the city - where the cost of buying a house is on par with parts of Dublin.

However, there are many more "bargains" available when it comes to purchasing a standard three bedroomed semi-detached house in Galway, compared to what is on offer in many Dublin city locations.

Meanwhile, population experts warn the latest census returns confirm that overall the Generation Y middle income sector, will continue to be poorer than their baby boomer parents.

The boomers are generally regarded as those born between 1946 and the early 1960s.

In contrast to the accommodation plight confronting under-35s, in general their parents found it easier to afford their first home.

The younger generation have found themselves hamstrung by a number of factors, such as the strict new guidelines governing the size of mortgage allowed, in relation to income.

The older generation also enjoyed other benefits, such as greater security as regards employment and pensions.

Sunday Independent

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