Sunday 16 December 2018

'Our local area is unaffordable - we are looking at a 90-minute commute'

Physiotherapist Philip Tonge at his home in Sandyford, Dublin. Pic:Mark Condren
Physiotherapist Philip Tonge at his home in Sandyford, Dublin. Pic:Mark Condren
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Newly-weds Philip Tonge and his wife Laura are trying to save for a deposit for their own place but it's a mammoth task.

Philip (32) is a physiotherapist and Laura (30) is a nurse and both are working in St Michael's Hospital in their native Dún Laoghaire. Ideally, they would love to stay in their local area near family.

But house prices have been driven so far out of their league that they've had to abandon their dream.

"It's the most expensive part of the country - house prices are just completely unaffordable," said Philip.

"We're looking at Wexford and Carlow now, but that means having to factor in an increased commute time. We'd be talking about an hour-and-a-half travel each way, but we want to stay working where we are because it's a lovely hospital," he explained.

They're currently renting in Sandyford, paying €1,800 a month.

"Renting is dead money and we just find that in Dublin these days you're living to work, not working to live," he said.

On their salaries, the couple would be entitled to a mortgage of less than €260,000 - which doesn't buy much, Philip said.

"The situation angers me absolutely because the Government just isn't building houses," he said.

"The homelessness crisis is crazy and the Government is selling public land to private developers. If they had followed through on what they had promised, we wouldn't be in this situation."

Their parents are unable to help them financially, but Philip is adamant that even if they could, he wouldn't take the money.

"They've worked hard enough," he said, adding that his own parents are both on minimum wage with a mortgage and bills to pay of their own.

The Taoiseach's comments suggesting that the 'bank of mum and dad' step in to help children with the cost of a deposit were "absolutely infuriating", Philip said, along with the suggestion that people could go abroad to earn their money.

"If all young people did that, there'd be nobody left," he said.

Irish Independent

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