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67pc of Irish Public Say Buying a First Home is More Challenging Than Ever

More women than men identify with the challenges of home purchase in Ireland
One-third of men say buying a home has always been difficult

A new research study commissioned by Royal London Ireland[1], one of Ireland’s leading life insurance and pensions companies, has found that two-thirds of Irish people (67pc) say that it is more difficult than ever to buy a first home, while one in four (27pc) agree that while it’s difficult to get on the property ladder – this has always been the case.

Findings from the survey of 1,000 people nationwide highlight a notable gender disparity, with 15pc more women (75pc) than men (60pc) arguing that buying a home in today’s property and financial landscape is more difficult than ever. Conversely, 33pc of men, compared to just 21pc of women, perceive these challenges as being a longstanding feature of Ireland’s property market.

Royal London Ireland also reports that the opinions voiced in the 2024 survey are almost on par with the feedback received from the same survey they conducted in 2019 (See Appendix).

The prices of new homes in Ireland have risen by 119pc since 2013, while the price of existing dwellings is now 137pc higher than in 201[2]2.

Barry McCutcheon, Proposition Lead, of Royal London Ireland, commented,

“Five years on and in the court of public opinion, not much has changed. People still believe that buying a home in Ireland has increasingly become an uphill struggle”.

“Notably, a significant cohort believes that the difficulties have always been present, which suggests a deep-rooted issue within the housing market that has persisted over time. Census 2022 findings show that for the first time in over 170 years, Ireland’s population grew to over five million people[3] which has put a huge strain on the housing supply throughout the country”.

CSO New Dwelling Completions statistics show that while there was a 10pc increase from 2022 to 2023[4], the number of vacant dwellings fell by 11pc between the 2016 and 2022 census[5].

Consensus:

Royal London Ireland reports a notable consensus among all age groups surveyed – from the youngest cohort aged 18 to 24 (65pc) to the oldest cohort aged 55 and above (66pc), most people agreed that it’s harder than ever now to buy a home. The highest proportion of respondents expressing this view belonged to the age group of 25 to 34 (72pc).

Barry added, “The data reveals that people in every stage of life, from the youngest cohort to the oldest, share the same viewpoint, indicating a widespread recognition of the hurdles within the housing market. Those who expressed this view the most were in the 25 to 34 age group. This may be because they are in the process of purchasing their own home and are experiencing the difficulties first-hand, or perhaps they are unable to move out of the family home as a result of housing issues. The median price of a house purchased in 2023 was €327,500[6] which is unattainable for many in their 20s and 30s6”.

“Moreover, our ongoing research efforts show the enduring challenges faced by prospective homebuyers over time, with marginal changes observed between 2019 and the present. The findings demonstrate the need for solutions to address the difficulties within the housing market, particularly for younger individuals striving to achieve homeownership”.

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