Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
We have had rent increases for the past 14 quarters. In 1987, a young couple would have had to pay 19% of their net annual earnings to afford a home. In 2014 - five years ago - it was 30%. In terms of a deposit in 1987, a young couple would have had to pay 30% of their net annual earnings. This increased to 50% by 2014. God knows what it is now. If the Taoiseach were to go out and talk to people, he would know this is the big issue. Young people are very angry and their parents are very angry. When one knocks on doors one is told by parents there are five or seven people living in the house because their adult children cannot afford to rent. There are as many people living in local authority houses. In the words of Threshold, high rents have forced people into homelessness. Instead of going on the streets or into emergency accommodation, many people are going back to live with their families. That is the reality.
We now have the lowest level of home ownership in this country in many a year. The reason for this is the Government's big policy mistake of going for the rental model. Fine Gael went for a rental model, thinking the private market would resolve the issue but it has not. These figures are extremely worrying. The prediction of another ten years' of rent misery for young people and young couples demands a dramatic change in scale of response in terms of house building and a rent freeze.