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First time buyer: The income limit is the real problem for me

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First time buyer Clare Cullen pictured at GWD auctioneers on Dorset St in Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath

First time buyer Clare Cullen pictured at GWD auctioneers on Dorset St in Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath

First time buyer Clare Cullen pictured at GWD auctioneers on Dorset St in Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath

I'm currently in the process of buying a house - or, at least, attempting to.

I've spent the last year explaining the same things over and over again. Why I don't want to rent any longer, why I can't 'just use my laser' and that it's not about where I want to live but where I can afford to.

That last one just got distinctly harder with the new rules imposed by the Central Bank.

I am from Mayo, and have spent eight years renting in Dublin.

I don't even want to think about the thousands I have wasted in rent over that time. I no longer want to rent. Not only is it more expensive than my future mortgage repayments, it provides me with no long-term security and nothing to show for it when the lease is up.

Most of the media attention has been on the introduction of a 20pc deposit requirement, and I can see how this will cause difficulties for other first-time buyers.

In our case, we just about scrape that, but the income limit is the real problem. Being limited to three-and-a-half times our joint income means not only will we now have to put every cent we have into a house - wedding, children, even furniture are all out the window for the foreseeable future - but we will still have to settle for a lot less.

I hear myself saying things like "how bad can an area really be?", "I suppose we could just live in two rooms for the next five years?" and "I suppose I could get used to a two-hour commute eventually!"

I've spent the last two years trying to meet the banks' criteria - am I saving enough, do I have the right career, am I working in one place long enough, did I cross my fingers enough times and knock on wood for luck?

It's incredibly disappointing that as I'm finally ready to get a mortgage, the amount I can get has been slashed. I've been wishing for this process to just be over but it now looks like we'll be here for another while.

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