Young people in Ireland face 'terrifying' rent crisis due to chronic housing shortage – Sky News

There were just 716 homes available to rent on 1 August in Ireland, which has a population of 5.1 million people, as the cost of rented accommodation soars 12.6% compared to last year.
Ireland correspondent
Friday 2 September 2022 22:01, UK
Some 61,000 Irish school-leavers received their Leaving Certificate (equivalent to A-levels) results today – but the country’s chronic shortage of accommodation is threatening to spoil the celebrations, as their thoughts turn to university.
Years of housing undersupply, coupled with an exodus of small landlords from the market, has led to a dire situation for those seeking a home to rent.
According to leading property website, rental prices hit an all-time high in August, with supply at its lowest level since the website started tracking in 2006.
The cost of rented accommodation has increased by 12.6% compared to last year. In a country of 5.1 million people, there were just 716 homes available to rent on 1 August.
Students, desperate to secure accommodation on the verge of a new academic year, are particularly vulnerable to the crisis.
“Nobody wants to rent to students,” Kerri Fry tells us at her family home in Burt, Co Donegal. She’s about to start her second year studying Spanish and film at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland’s largest university. While she had on-campus accommodation for her first year, none was available for her this time around.
“I’ve been searching for somewhere with a friend since April, and so far, nothing,” says Kerri.
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At her laptop, she shows us the results when she searches for a two-bed apartment in South Dublin, near UCD, with a budget of €1,800 (£1,555) per month. There are a total of four such properties in the capital city. She has applied to them all, but heard nothing back.
“Term starts in about a week and a half,” Kerri says, “and I’ve nowhere to live, nowhere to go. I can’t really go anywhere with the term so close. It’s just very terrifying, honestly”.
Kerri has seen listings that later turned out to be non-existent – attempts to defraud desperate students out of deposits without viewing a physical property.
According to the Garda [Irish police], reports of such crime have risen by 30% since before the pandemic, as the rent crisis makes it more likely students will take a risk.
“Yes, they are probably desperate,” says Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan, of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.
“But they [renters] are also seeing it as a one-time offer. They see a listing on social media, it says you must take it today, and there’s a sense of urgency. Then think ‘if I don’t take it, I’ll lose it’, so they’re taking a risk, yes.”
The nationwide shortage of accommodation has seen long, snaking queues outside properties with open viewings. A video of more than 100 people vying to view a single house in Dublin’s Drumcondra illustrated the stark realities facing renters, especially in the capital.
In the west of the city, 22-year-old Courtney Doyle has finally secured an apartment for her and partner Ross, after spending the last five years sleeping on friends’ sofas. It was urgently needed, as she is now six months pregnant.
“It caused a lot of stress and anxiety,” Courtney says, “especially couch-surfing.”
“I was like, what if I don’t find a place on time, is it suitable to go ahead with a pregnancy, is it fair to bring someone into the world without anywhere to live?”
Although Courtney was homed with the assistance of a government “cost rental” scheme, she says the state isn’t doing enough to help. “Definitely not, it’s a total crisis. There’s just not enough houses for us, or else they’re just not affordable. Especially for people on lower incomes.”
The Irish government doesn’t deny the scale of the problem.
“Look it’s acute, there’s no question of that,” the minister for housing Darragh O’Brien told Sky News. “We’ve had an issue of undersupply across all tenures of housing for the last ten years. There’s no question that has made the situation much more difficult.”
Today also marks the first anniversary of the government’s much-heralded “Housing for All” initiative, a €4bn-a-year plan to increase supply and decrease costs for those seeking a home.
The government says it’s an unprecedented effort to remedy years of undersupply – political opponents say that 14 of the plan’s targets have already been missed.
For now, Ireland’s housing market is unquestionably broken. All over the country, would-be tenants like Kerri Fry remain slumped over laptops, engaged in a frustrating and seemingly never-ending search for somewhere to call home. Homepage © 2023 Sky UK


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