Saturday 24 March 2018

If anyone should be paying property tax, it's the banks

Houses no longer represent wealth – they symbolise everything that went wrong for us as a nation, says Eilis Hanlon

Like most people, I was well into my 20s before I had a chance to get my feet on the property ladder. Before that, my earnings had been too intermittent, not to mention meagre, to make buying a house a realistic prospect; and even then, buying in the area where I lived back then wasn't possible. And I'm not talking Killiney Hill Road. This was the early Nineties, and the one-bedroom artisan's cottage I was renting in the Liberties already cost more in rent than I could really afford, and banks in those days actually offered mortgages based on a person's earnings rather than some figure plucked from the ether of fantasy and optimism.

Buying in Dublin was out of the question. The only way I could afford to buy was by moving back to my home town of Belfast. So that's what I did. It was pre-ceasefire, so house prices were still remarkably affordable in the North.

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