Rising interest rates, the cost-of-living crisis, the crisis of confidence fuelled by the ongoing war in Ukraine and the continuing wobbles from the tech sector . When you put it all together it doesn’t look like the ideal time to buy a new home and commit yourself to several decades of mortgage repayments.
But it was ever thus. Just ask anyone who has ever bought a home and taken that first step on to what used to be known as the “property ladder”, a term which, in the days before our current dysfunctional market described the various steps of first-time buying, trading up, and downsizing. These days, it’s a term that estate agents and other aspiring “expert” commentators should use sparingly, if at all.
With Ireland now sitting in the bottom third of EU countries for rates of home ownership, a fact cited by newly appointed Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns only last week, and with the average age of first-time buyers on the rise, the so-called property ladder is increasingly the preserve of the few. The choice is now a stark one; to rent for the medium to long term in a market where prices continue to spiral as demand outstrips supply or to take the proverbial plunge and buy, even as supply struggles to keep pace.
Although neither option is ideal given the increasing cost of doing both, estate agents are right on one thing. If you intend to settle down for the medium to long term and you’re reasonably confident in relation to your future career prospects, it still makes far more financial sense to try to buy than to rent.
While the repayments made on a home will come to an end one day and leave you with a debt-free and potentially valuable roof over your head in retirement, if you’re renting into old age, the requirement to pay your landlord will continue regardless of your capacity to pay.
Thankfully, in the current climate, the Government has put measures in place, namely Help-to-Buy and the First-Home Scheme to assist those looking to secure the age-old goal of home ownership and the sense of security that it provides. The details of both are outlined in Thursday’s new-homes special along with a wide selection of the schemes available to purchase in the capital and beyond.