Countryside Dream Home

The Irish Times Residential Property section this week features the pictured ‘fixer-upper’. Obviously a bargain, as its price has just been slashed to a cool €180k.

One hundred, and eighty, thousand, euro. For an uninhabitable ruin in North County Dublin. Which, going by the central bank’s lending rules, one would need to have an annual income of €46,286 in order to qualify for a mortgage to buy, after accounting for the €18,000 you’d first need to have lying around for the deposit. Ireland’s average income is €37,646. Note that this is the mean, and not the median income, so it skews high. Most people have a gross income of less than this. So, even imagining this figure as what the ‘average person’ earns, it still falls €8,640 short of the amount you would need to earn to be the proud owner of this roofless hovel. Or course if you are stuck, you can always borrow a nice big chunk of money from your parents.

The tone of the Times’ article suggests that the author is mildly aghast at the price and condition of this property. However, the same publication routinely champions half-a-million-euro cottages in places like Ringsend and Portobello. Nice? Yes. Half a million? Madness. The paper might occasionally publish faux-concern articles about the property bubble, but at the same time are helping to fuel it through their vested interest ownership of, and the revenue generated from their property pages. Check out how they present the above-mentioned Portobello cottage on their property site.

There are of course a myriad of factors as to why property prices in Ireland are tragi-comically astronomical. Government after government have been happy to let the market determine property and rent prices. After all, many of them benefit directly from the housing crisis. Why would they be incentivised to do anything about it? Unless given a direct mandate by the people, the situation will only get worse. And us customers, not citizens, can only dream of the day we will be able to afford to gaze at the stars from the muddy floor of our thatchless thatched cottage.


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