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Home ownership by the age of 30 nearly halved in space of a generation

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A new study by the ESRI think-tank says the vast majority of younger adults are locked out of the housing market. Photo: Getty

A new study by the ESRI think-tank says the vast majority of younger adults are locked out of the housing market. Photo: Getty

A new study by the ESRI think-tank says the vast majority of younger adults are locked out of the housing market. Photo: Getty

Home ownership by the age of 30 has halved in the space of a generation with the vast majority of younger adults locked out of the housing market.

A new study from the ESRI think-tank has revealed a stark contrast in home ownership between those born in the 1960s and the 1980s. It tracks a continuous decline across the decades in people managing to purchase a home by the time they reach the age of 30.

The statistics show that over 60pc of those born in the 1960s owned a home by age 30, but this figure fell to 39pc for those born in the 1970s and 32pc for those born in the 1980s.

The research also reveals that with young people forced into the private rental market, the cost of rent has increased in Dublin city by 85pc since early 2011 and 67pc in Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

“Each successive generation are less likely than the last to own their own home at the same age,” ESRI researcher Barra Roantree, the lead author of the study, told the Irish Independent.

The report found that earnings for young people are stagnating, due to the labour market not recovering fully from the financial crash.

As well as the labour market failing to bounce back, more young people are working in low-paid jobs in areas such as retail or hospitality and have lower wages than their parents had at that age.

Millennials staying longer in education and beginning their careers later in life is also a reason for the slower increase in pay.

With high rents and low wages, the figures show that young people are spending more than 30pc of their disposable income on housing costs.

“Each generation that’s gone before tended to have higher earnings than the one before it at the same age, but that’s not the case for those born in the 1990s,” added Mr Roantree.

“There’s real earning stagnation that’s affecting younger adults and that’s combined with this decline in home ownership to really put a squeeze on living standards for young adults.”

He said there should be a greater focus not only on the first-time buyers who are just squeezed out of the market, but also on the low-income earners who are “a lot further away” from buying a home.

“There’s a big need to focus on people who are a lot further from home ownership. There’s people who are a lot further away from becoming first-time buyers and they’re not seeing the wage growth.”

The full Poverty, Income Inequality and Living Standards in Ireland report by the ESRI also shows that younger workers were hit the hardest during the pandemic.

In the second quarter of 2020, employment rates among people aged 15 to 19 fell to almost 60pc and 50pc among people aged 20 to 24.

This is over double when compared to 25pc for those aged 25-29 and 55+, and 20pc for other age groups.

While employment recovered over the easing of restrictions around Christmas, young workers took the hit the hardest and the think-tank estimates that there were 112,000 fewer 15-34 year olds in paid work in the final quarter of 2020 compared to the end of 2019.

Meanwhile councillors will today raise significant concerns with TDs and senators over the proposed overriding of councillors in transferring public lands to the Land Development Agency (LDA).

Under Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien’s Land Development Agency Bill, local councillors will not be able to block the sale of local authority land to the LDA.

The Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) has previously raised concerns that councillor powers will be lessened and will tomorrow warn TDs and Senators of their concerns.

“The association is concerned that this will result in the transfer of local authority land to a centralised agency, unaccountable to the local public representatives,” president of the AILG, Galway Cllr Mary Hoade, will tell the Oireachtas Housing Committee today.


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