Friday 28 October 2016

Do I move home ... or remain part of Generation Rent?

Published 13/06/2015 | 02:30

Many young professionals are living in a rent trap wondering when, if at all, an escape route can be found
Many young professionals are living in a rent trap wondering when, if at all, an escape route can be found

Meet 'Generation Rent'. It's a group consisting of thousands of young professionals who grew up under false pretences during the Celtic Tiger years.

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We were told we would graduate from college with a degree that would unlock abundant opportunities.

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Our lives were certain to flourish. The perfect job, our first car, a brand new home - all were central to the plans ahead. There was no need to ever consider the idea of emigration, unless it was for lifestyle reasons of course.

We were inheriting an Ireland without limits, a country in which we would be proud to raise our children and call our home.

But as the curtains came down on the boom years, the script was well and truly ripped apart.

The economy may be in the process of a recovery, but that hasn't stopped the birth of this new cohort known as 'Generation Rent'. It's a common conversation topic in the pubs on a Friday or Saturday night - how much is your landlord jacking up the rent by this time?

And let's be clear, this is not a life we want for long.

The notion that people in their 20s and 30s have no desire to buy their own homes is both inaccurate and insulting.

Why should we have to settle for the idea of life lingering in a highly volatile rental market while our counterparts in other countries are being supported on to the property ladder?

We have watched on in horror as the generation before us were plunged into a mortgage arrears nightmare, partly due to the failures of the previous government and the actions of the banks.

The fear and anguish of some homeowners is all too evident, even today.

Yet this country's young graduates are now being denied the opportunity of becoming homeowners because of the mistakes of the past, grossly unfair lending rules and a highly dysfunctional property sector.

We are living in a rent trap wondering when, if at all, an escape route can be found.

As job prospects improved, those of us who opted against emigration flocked to the cities for work. We have carved out a lifestyle that should not be scoffed at. We socialise often and make no apology for doing so.

But as we grow older, the idea of never leaving this rent trap becomes suffocating.

Our rent bills are continuing to rise and we are struggling to generate the savings necessary to meet the Central Bank's rules surrounding mortgage deposits.

This Government has promised to act to ensure living in rented accommodation becomes affordable. But a package of rent controls will not address the fact that there is virtually no support systems for young people eyeing up the property ladder.

For me, the unthinkable now crosses my mind. That is moving back home for a year, probably more, so as to save enough money for a deposit. It really is the last resort. But the only other option is to remain trapped, as a member of 'Generation Rent'.

What's the real cost of renting in your area?

Irish Independent

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