Saturday 24 February 2018

The blended family buyers: We cannot get a joint mortgage: we feel trapped

Budget: €153k

Michael Bowes with his partner, Jessica Douglas, and family (from left) Lauren Bowes (11), Morrigan Jones (eight), Salle Jones (nine) and Oisín Bowes (14 months). Photo: Bryan Meade
Michael Bowes with his partner, Jessica Douglas, and family (from left) Lauren Bowes (11), Morrigan Jones (eight), Salle Jones (nine) and Oisín Bowes (14 months). Photo: Bryan Meade

Michael Bowes, a 39-year-old electrical technician from Hacketstown in Co Carlow, and his partner, Jessica Douglas, are feeling under serious pressure with their current living arrangements and are desperate to buy a home this year.

The couple - who have four kids between them - are currently renting a three-bed property in Gorey, Co Wexford. They'd ideally like to stay in the area and buy a four-bed house with a garden.

Their biggest stumbling block has been getting a joint mortgage.

"So far, we haven't been able to get one. Jessica has a credit record default and has been blacklisted. She bought a house in 2007 with her former husband but, when the marriage broke down and she moved out, the property got repossessed.

"I've got pre-approval on my own as a first-time-buyer for €153,000 with EBS but we'd be lucky to get a two-bed apartment in Gorey for that price," says Michael.

Their situation is further compounded by rising rents and increasing property prices, which are being fuelled by a growth in commuters, says Michael.

"With the new M11, commuting to Dublin city centre is less than an hour-and-a-half away. And even though prices are rising in Gorey, it's still cheaper to buy a home here than in Dublin," he says.

The couple are currently paying €800 a month in rent, although their two-year rent freeze ends later this year.

"After August, we'll be totally at the mercy of our landlord... We feel totally trapped. Our children go to school in Gorey and have friends here so we don't want to uproot them. I work in Arklow and Jessica is at college in Waterford, so Gorey is an ideal commute for us both.

"For the mortgage I've been quoted, there's just nothing suitable to buy. We could go on the council waiting list for a property but that would be wrong. Besides, what's the point? We could easily afford the repayments if we got a joint mortgage. It's crazy," says Michael.

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