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'Banks are out of touch': Bank of Ireland criticised over ad about couple moving back in with parents

The tweet about a couple who returned home to live with parents to save for a mortgage has received a huge backlash.

HOMELESSNESS CHARITY THE Peter McVerry Trust has claimed that banks are “out of touch with reality” after Bank of Ireland posted an advertisement about a young couple moving back to their family homes to save for a mortgage deposit.

The bank posted a tweet yesterday with a photo of a young woman, which read:

Orla and her boyfriend stopped renting and moved back with their parents to save the deposit for their 1st home.

The tweet accompanied a blog post by Orla, which details how she and her boyfriend returned home to save up money for a deposit. They eventually used the money saved to purchase a home in Swords in north Dublin.

The tweet was met with criticism from social media users last night, and has since been deleted.

https://twitter.com/newschambers/status/900412958378995712

Francis Doherty from the Peter McVerry Trust said the blog post was disappointing.

“It’s pretty disappointing to see the financial institutions return to the practices that happened just before the property crash, enticing people to stretch as far as they can in order to get a property that’s highly unaffordable,” Doherty told TheJournal.ie. 

It’s part of a bigger problem with the housing system at the moment. It does nobody any favours to be pushing people to stretch themselves beyond their means.

The latest Daft.ie quarterly rental report showed that rents jumped to a record high for the fifth quarter in a row between April and June of this year.

Rents nationwide jumped 11.8% in the first six months of the year, with the average asking price for a rental nationwide now €1,159 per month.

The average rental price in Dublin meanwhile is €1,707 per month.

Orla’s story

Irish banks should be lending their voice to call for more affordable housing, Doherty said.

He criticised BOI for ”telling people ‘here’s a roundabout way of stretching as far as you can to get on the property ladder’”.

In the blog post, Orla (who is a real person – she grew up in the northside suburb of Sutton) outlines how she studied marketing in university, joined an architectural company and eventually moved out of home to live with her boyfriend.

“We wanted our own place. We were both in our careers a couple of years by then and we both had the money to move out but didn’t want to move too far away from friends and family,” Orla wrote.

After living in the two-bed apartment for four years, Orla wrote about why they decided to return to their parents’ homes.

That gave us the opportunity, from January 2016, to get a MortgageSaver account, start saving and to kind of chip away at the deposit. As much as we loved having our own place it just made so much sense to move home and see how much we can save.

Stressing his concerns, Doherty told TheJournal.ie that the fact that young couples have to return to live with their parents points to “a strategy from the banks to entice people to borrow as much as possible to buy houses that are as unaffordable as possible”.

“It’s people’s personal choices to take measures in order for them to secure or buy a home, should they wish to do that,” he said.

The fact that people like Orla and her partner are having to take measures like moving back into her parents’ house shows housing fundamentally simply isn’t affordable for many people, particularly young people trying to get onto the property ladder.

Backlash

The tweet provoked a large amount of backlash from Twitter users last night with many people expressing their despair at the current state of the Irish property market.

https://twitter.com/glennthefitz/status/900402248475398144

https://twitter.com/garyfleming7/status/900635602185596928

The backlash to BOI’s tweet was a result of the “public frustration and anger” around the housing crisis, Doherty contended.

Latest figures show that there were 5,046 homeless adults in emergency accommodation in June.

Of that number, 2,131 were placed in private emergency accommodation, which includes commercial hotels and B&Bs across the country. There were 1,471 homeless adults in this type of accommodation in Dublin alone.

In a statement this morning, Bank of Ireland said:

“The ad featured one couple’s deposit saving experience, it wasn’t intended to cause offence and wasn’t intended as advice for customers.

We’re focused on supporting first-time buyers at all stages of the home buying journey and our MortgageSaver product helps first time buyers who are saving towards a deposit.

Read: ‘A loss of dignity’: Homeless children are living on takeaways and dining on the floor

More: Silent bids and avocados: Are house prices really out of the reach of Irish millennials?

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