"Sickening" housing generation gap in Ireland laid bare in new documentary 6 months ago

"Sickening" housing generation gap in Ireland laid bare in new documentary

"It's almost sickening to be honest – when I hear you say you bought your first house for £17,500, I'm like woah!"

Ireland's housing crisis continues to dominate the conversation, with a special week-long report shining an especially grim light on the current state of affairs.

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RTÉ's Prime Time team has put together a series of case studies that reflect the ongoing problem, with particular focus paid to the generation gap and the stark differences thereof.

One such example comes in the form of 27-year-old Megan Byrne, who lives at home in Kildare with her father Jack.

Megan has received mortgage approval but cannot find a home that she can afford.

Turning the clock back to 1979, Jack explains how he was struggling to find the money to buy a house.

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"40 years later, it's not getting any better – people are still struggling," he says.

"My first house, [which] I bought in Mulhuddart, was £17,500.

"The deposit was £3,500, which was a lot of money at the time. We saved and saved and saved, and we had money there to get it but having said that, when we got the house, we couldn't afford to put anything into it."

According to Jack, he was earning £50 per week – the same amount as his weekly mortgage payment.

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When he turned 32, he managed to purchase a second house – something that seems genuinely unfathomable for the majority of young Irish people in 2022.

"Do you think it was easier when you were applying for a mortgage?" asks Megan.

"In my day, you just handed in your pay slip," says Jack, who noted that there was a more visible supply of houses available when he was looking for one.

"It's almost sickening, to be honest, because when I hear that you bought your first house for £17,500 – I'm like, woah!" says Megan in response.

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"Can you imagine? We have approval and we have a sign-off that says, 'Yeah, you can borrow this amount of money' but good luck trying to find a house for that.

"It's a small budget but a reasonable budget and I can't do anything – I can't change my car because if I do, I'll be stuck with a loan and then that will affect the amount of money I can borrow for a mortgage. It feels really hopeless right now."

Prime Time airs on RTÉ One on Tuesday – 1 February – at 9.35pm.

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