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11 Aug 2022

EDITORIAL: You'd have to ask, who would actually want to live in this country?

This week's editorial in The Nationalist

Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

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If you’re residing in this country at present, and are renting or looking to build or buy, you may be wondering if you’re actually in an Irish Pictorial Weekly sketch.

There are those who can’t afford to rent because they may have opted to work one too many hours last year.

Then there are those who can afford to rent but can’t afford to build or buy a home because of what they’re paying a landlord.

There are those who can afford to buy despite paying rent but are being outbid by other interested parties.

And then there are those living at home with their parents and can’t afford to buy because of soaring house prices and strict mortgage lending rules.

To be fair, it does sound like the beginning of an Irish Pictorial Weekly piece, but this isn’t the skeleton script for a comedy sketch on RTÉ, this is real life.

The cohorts of people mentioned above are just a small example of the types of individuals who want to live here.

These ordinary people want to earn a living and give back to their communities and their country. They want to reside near family and friends.

Or even near their work. But many of them are being priced out of doing any of these things. They’re stuck in a limbo as the years roll by with two of those years lost in the midst of a pandemic - when everything stopped.

A report recently found that in Ireland, most first-time home buyers are now over the age of 30, in a major reversal of previous trends.

The sheer cost of homes and the difficulties for younger workers with lower earnings in qualifying for mortgages means new buyers are older.

What will be the implications of this as people are burdened with debt well into their 70s? Is that why people are being asked, now, to work longer?

Bearing in mind, this is just people’s efforts to own/rent a home, we haven’t even factored in all the other expenses that accrue in our lives.

In light of all of the above, you’d have to ask, who would want to live in this country?

Who could actually afford to?

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