Sunday 21 October 2018

Tech workers lash out at 'crazy' Dublin rental costs

American tech sector worker Austin Spivey, head of operations at Wia in Dublin
American tech sector worker Austin Spivey, head of operations at Wia in Dublin

Adrian Weckler Technology Editor

Irish tech workers are speaking out about the chaotic scramble for accommodation in Dublin, with young executives saying it's a drawback to living and creating jobs in the capital.

"Finding housing here is probably the hardest I've ever experienced anywhere," said Austin Spivey, who moved to Dublin from the US in recent months to take up a job as head of operations with Wia, a startup that specialises in connecting devices to the 'internet of things'.

"I lived in the heart of Manhattan and San Francisco and I've never experienced something so difficult. You can't even begin to explain how difficult it actually is."

A recent report from the listings website Daft.ie claimed that average monthly apartment rents in Dublin are now nearing €2,000, rising by 12.4pc in the last year.

While thousands are looking for somewhere to rent property, there are just over 1,000 properties in the capital available.

Recent data from the Docklands Residential Report 2018, published by the Owen Reilly agency, suggest that almost half of the tenants renting in Dublin's Silicon Docks locality are tech professionals employed by companies like Google, Facebook, Airbnb and LinkedIn. The combination of a surge in growth from the big tech companies and a crunch in supply of residential accommodation has created huge difficulties for workers trying to live anywhere close to the city centre.

"You basically show up and there'll be 50 people looking at the apartment at the same time," said Ms Spivey.

"You just keep going further and further out. So you end up compromising on things you normally wouldn't have compromised on because there's such a shortage of places available." According to the Docklands Residential Report, an apartment in the Silicon Docks region typical rents for a premium of about 70pc over the average rental cost across Dublin.

"The rent is very, very high," said Ms Spivey. "It's comparable, if not slightly, more than San Francisco, which is pretty crazy."

A recent report from the Dublin recruitment company Prosperity suggested that some skilled tech workers from abroad are avoiding job offers from Dublin because of the low availability and high cost of rental accommodation here.

For more, tune in to The Big Tech Show podcast at independent.ie/podcasts.

Irish Independent

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