Monday 9 December 2019

'Rentlanders' forced to leave cities simply to put a roof over their heads

As well as the homeless, those on waiting lists and the 200,000 whose mortgages are restructured or in arrears, there are 450,000 rental households facing huge uncertainty. Stock photo: Graham Moore
As well as the homeless, those on waiting lists and the 200,000 whose mortgages are restructured or in arrears, there are 450,000 rental households facing huge uncertainty. Stock photo: Graham Moore
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

It was the economist David McWilliams who coined the phrase 'Deckland'. Perhaps it is not quite as catchy as 'breakfast roll man', but it captured the plight of a generation of young families who took flight to towns and villages, outside of our main urban centres, just to put a roof over their heads.

Now 'decklanders' are being replaced by 'rentlanders' as a new form of displaced urbanites, and others who cannot find or afford accommodation, who are taking flight to commuter belts, leading to huge costs in terms of their finances and quality of life.

The housing supply crisis, particularly in urban areas, such as Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick, poses one of the key risks now that our economy has returned to growth.

As last week's damning report from the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and worrying data on mortgage arrears from the Central Bank show, we cannot take the economic recovery for granted.

As well as the homeless, those on waiting lists and the 200,000 whose mortgages are restructured or in arrears, there are 450,000 rental households facing huge uncertainty.

It is an uncertainty that will deter our emigres from returning home and give companies pause for thought when it comes to inward investment here.

Most of all, it means condemning workers and families to the worst vestiges of the Celtic Tiger era, strapping children into car seats for long commutes at dawn, not because they want decking and barbecues - but just because they want a roof over their heads.

Irish Independent

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