Sunday 21 January 2018

Far better to be a generation of renters than falling victim to negative equity

Renting equally liberates you to be able to move on easily
Renting equally liberates you to be able to move on easily

Lorraine Courtney

Renting used to be dead money. Yada, yada, yada. But after years of being criticised for not shelling out on a property, renters like myself can now sit back on our balconies and watch the negative equity all around us.

You see, my generation was more or less bullied into buying property - and many now find themselves saddled with teeny three-bedroom semis in estates with cutesy names from the English shires, even though there's little foliage to be seen and the estate sits on the side of a noisy commuter-belt motorway. But after a decade of being told rent was dead money, or that renters were throwing our money down the drain, lining greedy landlords' pockets and getting nothing back for our monthly investment, it seems that us house-less ones are the smart ones. The view from the property ladder isn't so great right now.

Who knows what psychology or colonial legacies lie behind it, but there is no doubt that the Irish used to aspire to owning the ground beneath our feet. The natural trajectory used to be graduating from a succession of grotty bedsits to a mortgage. But new research from Argos suggests that we're no longer prioritising owning a home, deciding instead to stay put with renting, forever. It's a fairly staggering statistic, but it seems that more than 80pc of Irish renters claim that they're not saving up for their own house.

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