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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019
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The average age of first-time home buyers is going up and up

It’s even increased over the last year.

People are saving for longer and longer.
People are saving for longer and longer.
Image: Sam Boal

THE AVERAGE AGE of first-time home buyers is now 34, according to a group representing estate agents.

This average age has jumped from 29 in 2006 and even from 33 just 12 months ago says the Real Estate Alliance.

The REA blames a number of factors for the delay in young people buying houses, saying that they are being priced out above a certain level.

“A definite two-tier system has emerged over the past year nationwide, with €160,000 emerging as the breaking point for interest from buyers in that age group, ruling out most properties in Dublin,”  REA chairman Michael O’Connor said this morning.

O’Connor also says that another factor pushing up house prices, especially in rural areas, is an increase in foreign-born nationals living in Ireland who are now buying homes.

In areas such as Carlow, REA agents are reporting that 30% of first-time buyers are now from eastern Europe, a percentage that has grown rapidly over the past two years.

The REA has been vocal in calling for the Central Bank to row back on its mortgage deposit rules with O’Connor describing them as “over-restrictive” and causing a “two-tier system”.

“The introduction of the Central Bank’s requirements, combined with higher rents, has made it increasingly difficult for young people to save deposits, especially in Dublin,” he argues.

“House ownership is now off the table for many couples earning average salaries, with their only hope of purchase now coming from an injection of outside help, usually from close relatives.”

Under the Central Bank rules introduced last year, borrowers are expected to arrive to market with at least a 20% deposit saved for the value of the house they hope to buy. For first-time buyers the rules are slightly more lax, with just 10% of the first €220,000 required, and 20% thereafter.

The REA says it welcomed the rules at the time but that they are now “not reflecting” the market.

Read: Rents are getting so high that there’s “little chance” of saving for a house >

Read: House prices are rising all across the country – and will keep going up >

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Rónán Duffy

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