“The effect of trapping long-term renters in high rents is that the mortgage rules are actually inflating the rental market and driving up housing costs for a huge cohort of the population.”

The Social Democrats spokesperson on Consumer Affairs and Political Director Anne-Marie McNally has called for a change to Central Bank mortgage rules as they apply to long-term renters thereby making it easier for renters to qualify for a mortgage.

Ms McNally said that today’s data from the Residential Tenancies Board shows yet again that renters are currently facing exorbitant rents. Both the RTB and the Daft.ie register show that average rents both nationally and in Dublin are among the highest they’ve ever been.

The last DAFT.ie data showed that most mortgages needed to buy one/two/three bedroom properties cost substantially less per month than average rents for similar properties. In some cases, a mortgage is half the cost of the rent yet those who are stuck paying the current excessive rental amounts find it impossible to simultaneously save for a deposit in order to access a mortgage they could clearly service.

Ms McNally said:

“The Central Bank brought in new mortgage rules over the past few years restricting the amount of mortgage that can be taken out by basing it on income and requiring a minimum level of deposit. Most of these rules are very welcome and help prevent people from over-borrowing and taking on mortgages they simply can’t afford. However, long-term renters are trapped by the new rules. Long-term renters are paying record rents, which prevent them from saving for a deposit, which in turn means they can never qualify for a mortgage and so are locked into their high rent.

“If you take examples from the DAFT.ie figures you will see that for a two bedroom house, the monthly cost of renting in Dublin 12 is €1,605 whereas a mortgage for similar properties in the same area is €962. In Cork, the rent figure is €1,067 and the mortgage €635. In Limerick it’s €911 for rent and €454 for mortgage. In Galway, it’s €977 and €615. Similar data was published recently by Cairn homes showing that it’s 42% cheaper to buy in a Dublin 13 development than to rent.

“The effect of trapping long-term renters in high rents is that the mortgage rules are actually inflating the rental market and driving up housing costs for a huge cohort of the population. A measure designed to prevent people taking on mortgages they can’t afford has resulted in them taking on rents they can’t afford. Neither situation is sustainable.

“We are calling for a common sense approach to this issue and for the Central Bank to revise its mortgage rules as they apply to long-term renters. We are in exceptional circumstances and therefore need exceptional solutions. If someone has proven their ability to service a rental amount for a specified period of time then we suggest this could be taken into account by financial institutions when considering the deposit payment required for a mortgage.”

ENDS

27th September 2018