Rate of young people living with their parents jumps as housing costs soar

Report highlights impact of unaffordable housing on young people and precarious situation of private market renters

Ireland has witnessed one of the largest increases of young people living with their parents because of a lack of affordable housing, according to new report.

The study by EU agency Eurofound said there had been a decline in home ownership across the EU over the past decade, “driven by a drop in home ownership among young people”.

The rate of homeowning across the bloc fell by 1 percentage point, from a peak of 71 per cent in 2012 to 70 per cent in 2020.

The decline, the report said, was driven by decreases of more than 3 percentage points in Denmark, Cyprus, Spain, Lithuania, Finland and Bulgaria.


Ireland’s home ownership rate decreased from 69.6 per cent in 2012 to 69.3 per cent in 2020. In 1990s and early 2000s, it had been ahead of the EU average.

Eurofound’s report noted that between 2010 and 2019, Ireland, along with several other EU member states, experienced the largest increases in people aged 25 to 34 living with their parents. In Ireland, the increase was more than 6 percentage points.

“Many young adults have been unable to move out of the family home altogether due to a lack of affordable options,” it said.

The study also found that the age at which at least 50 per cent of people in the EU were living outside their parental home increased from 26 to 28 between 2007 and 2019.

The share of income spent on housing was also found to have decreased for homeowners from 18 per cent in 2010 to 16 per cent in 2019, while it increased for tenants from 28 per cent to 31 per cent.

The report noted that private rental market tenants were “in a particularly precarious situation with 46 per cent feeling at risk of needing to leave their accommodation in the next three months because they can no longer afford it”.

In all member states, people in the bottom half of the income distribution were said to be less satisfied with their homes than people in the top half. On average, homeowners had higher incomes than tenants and face fewer problems with their housing.

“Unaffordable housing is a matter of great concern in the EU. It leads to homelessness, housing insecurity, financial strain and inadequate housing,” it said.

“It also prevents young people from leaving their parental home. These problems affect people’s health and wellbeing, embody unequal living conditions and opportunities, and result in increased healthcare costs, reduced productivity and environmental damage,” it said.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times