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Home, Sweet… maybe not.

There’s an online article that’s been getting lot a lot of attention here. In a study published last week, Dublin has been ranked the worst city in the world to find a place to live for expats. Dead last. IN THE WORLD. Let that sink for a moment.

The thing is though, Dublin’s got a serious housing crisis going on for everyone, not just expats. Rents have gotten stupidly high and it’s nearly impossible to buy a place – trust me, I’ve been trying to do so for the past several months.

After a couple missteps, I thought I’d finally found a place last week. I made an offer. It was accepted. Yay! I’d actually decided on a one-bedroom. Sure, it was small but it was in Ranelagh and it had really nice high-end features, the likes of which I couldn’t afford in a two bedroom. I emailed my mortgage person at the bank to let them know and I got an email back saying that it’s bank policy to only finance one-bedrooms at 80% rather than the 90% I was supposed to be able to finance as a first-time buyer. That meant I’d have to put down 20% of the sale price which would be… wait for it… €77,000!!!

It’s no secret that Dublin’s lending practices were one of the main causes for its economic collapse a decade ago, but the measures that are in place now as a response to what happened back then often defy logic. If you want a mortgage, you need to have a 20% down payment, unless you are a first-time buyer in which case you only need to put 10% down. But even a 10% down payment is prohibitively expensive in a city where the average income is less than €40,000 and the average house price is €383,000. It isn’t hard to see that that math just doesn’t work for most people.

It just doesn’t seem fair to me. The Dublin housing market seems open to only the rich and well-established. Young people just starting out can’t afford to buy. Single people (like me) who might be just fine with a one-bedroom are being discriminated against because they can actually live with less than two bedrooms. Oh, and Ireland will only mortgage you to the age of 70, so it’s also ageist. If you are over 40 the cost of your monthly mortgage payments will be significantly higher than one might be planning because you won’t be able to get a 30-year mortgage.

I finally live somewhere where I actually want to buy a place. Someplace that I want to make my “forever” home. And I’m being met with obstacle after obstacle. It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. And it’s left me feeling rather lost. I’m not sure what to do next. I’m taking a break from my search over the holidays but I’m not hopeful that things will go any better in 2020.


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