Wednesday 16 October 2019

'I'd love to live with my pregnant partner - but we just can't afford it' - young man on 'nightmare' saving for a home

Budget 2019: The realities of trying to buy a home in Ireland

Stephen Todd
Stephen Todd
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A father-to-be has said that he worries he won't be able to spend time with his newborn child because his daily commute to work is so long.

Stephen Todd (27), and his partner Debbie are expecting their first child in February, but due to soaring house prices, the young couple can't afford to buy a home together.

Stephen told Independent.ie that saving for a home in Dublin is a "nightmare".

"I'm currently renting a room in Dublin 6 for €800 per month. I'd love nothing more than being able to live with my partner, especially seeing as we're now bringing a child into the world, but we just can't afford it.

"We tried to find a house to rent together in the city but we but couldn't get anything suitable for less than €1,500 a week. It's simply impossible to put away any significant amount of savings on a weekly basis."

The father-to-be, who works as a Sinn Fein Political Adviser in Leinster House, said that in order to save for a deposit, he is moving back home to Dundalk to live with his mother.

"I will have to commute about three to four hours a day. That means I'll only see my newborn child for a few hours a week for the first few years of its life.

"I know I'm lucky to have my mother to go back and live with but I haven't lived with my mother in four years and the thought of going back is daunting."

Stephen said that once he and his partner Debbie do manage to save for a deposit, they won't be able to buy a home in Dublin.

"Even though we both work in the city, we won't be able to afford anything there. We both work in the public service and we'll definitely be priced out of Dublin."

He added that he and Debbie are considering emigrating if housing prices in Ireland don't improve.

"It's highly frustrating. We are looking at emigrating because the cost of living in Dublin is too high. We don't want to be struggling to make ends' meet in the long term."

In Tuesday's budget, it's believed the Government has agreed to a Fianna Fáil proposal for a €300m affordable housing scheme over the next three years.

It will see local authorities build homes to sell for between €190,000 and €225,000 on the back of a €50,000 subsidy from the Department of Housing.

Stephen said that while he and his partner qualify for the scheme, which is aimed at couples who earn up to €90,000 a year, he doubts it will bring about any real change.

"We would qualify for the scheme but I don't see how it will directly help couples.

"In theory, it's great and would certainly assist us in buying a home, but I'd question how and if it will actually be done. I don't know how sustainable that scheme will be, but the Government needs to do something to help couples like us who are struggling in the housing crisis."

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