Sunday 25 February 2018

No room in city for couples with kids - only 179 three-beds left

Just 179 affordable three-bed semis currently for sale - and most are in the capital's outer suburbs

LOOKING FOR A HOME: Brian Singleton at Goose Green Court, Drumcondra, yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin
LOOKING FOR A HOME: Brian Singleton at Goose Green Court, Drumcondra, yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin

Jerome Reilly and Allison Bray

Working Dublin couples who want a three-bed semi to rear a family will have to move to the outer-most suburbs to make their dreams come true because of the harsh new mortgage regime.

Many thousands of couples on the average wage are crying out for housing in the capital.

But the tough new Central Bank rules mean that in the current property market there are just 179 family homes with three bedrooms within their financial reach in the greater Dublin area - and most of those are in the far west and north of the county.

It is not just the tough new deposit laws that have forced them out of the market for a three-bed semi - which only a decade ago was the expectation of most young families.

The rule, which will now be strictly enforced, that mortgages must be based on a ratio of three-and-a-half times salary means they will not be able to buy in many parts of Dublin - even if they can manage to save the hefty deposit.

A working couple, both on the average wage, will have a combined income of €70,000, which effectively restricts them to borrowing €245,000.

They will also, if they are first-time buyers, have to come up with a deposit totalling nearly €30,000 on a €250,000 family home.

In fact, the average income of a Dublin household last year was just €57,600 - giving a borrowing power of just short of €211,000

If house hunters at this level of earnings can save a deposit, they can then look for a house costing between €200,000 and €245,000.

There are just 179 three- bed detached and semi-detached properties that are in that price range currently on sale in Dublin, analysis of the property website showed on Friday.

And most are scattered in the western suburbs and the satellite towns of North County Dublin. In Clonsilla, 14 three-bedroom houses are for sale in the €200,000 to €250,000 price bracket. Other areas include Swords (16), Clondalkin (24), Tallaght (14), Balbriggan (11) and Lucan (8).

Other suburbs and outer suburban towns, including Lusk, Finglas, Coolock and Drimnagh, also have three- bed family houses below the €250,000 threshold, according to analysis of the listings.

Meanwhile, one of the other online property portals,, has also pointed to the shortage of houses and has called on the Government to address the lack of supply.

It believes that the key threshold figure for first-time buyers is just €220,000 and it says that there are just 395 houses for sale in the capital at, or under that, threshold figure. Its calculation does not include apartments but does take account of two-bedroom starter homes. Managing Director Angela Keegan said the new Central Bank rules strike a balance between the needs of consumers and the need to protect the economy and the country from rapid price inflation.

"The 3.5 times income cap should keep prices under control at the starter home level. The sliding scale is fair and now after months of uncertainty everyone, from first-time buyers to house builders, can plan for the future."

"However, the new measures won't solve the supply issue. Right now there are only 395 houses for sale at or under the €220k mark while if we include apartments the figure rises to 842. It is clear thousands of hard-pressed buyers will be competing for these homes and apartments and this is not sustainable," she said.


For prospective homebuyer Brian Singleton, saving more than €80,000 for a deposit on a house with a starting price of €420,000 is simply out of the question.

The 42-year-old sales representative was among the house-hunters attending an open house for the Goose Green Court development in the Dublin enclave of Drumcondra yesterday, where 11 1,100-square-foot two- and three-bedroom semi-detached homes are going for €420,000 and €435,000 respectively.

Yet with his own home in Millstreet, Co Cork mired in negative equity while he and his wife Tara (40) pay €1,000 a month in rent for their home in Malahide, Co Dublin, on top of their mortgage, coming up with a 20pc deposit would be very difficult, even though both Brian and his wife work full-time and have no children.

"The 10pc deposit we'd have no difficulty with, but we'd have to save another €40,000 for the 20pc (deposit) when we're paying rent and a mortgage. We just couldn't do that."

What angers Mr Singleton the most is how he believes the Government is acting too late to fix their mistakes. "This measure would have been okay back then. If they had stuck to a 10pc deposit back then we would never be in this mess," he said.

Also viewing the property was Paul Keller (35), his wife Teresa (35) and their daughter Alla (3). But unlike many young families of the same generation, they were fortunate to have bought their first house before the height of the boom. "When you see what's out there, we'll stay where we are," Mrs Keller added.

Sunday Independent

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