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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Home ownership drops as number of people renting increases

Almost half a million households rent their accommodation, according to the April 2011 Census.

Image: hownowdesign via Flickr/Creative Commons

THE NUMBER OF households in Ireland renting their accommodation has increased by 47 per cent since 2006.

The Census 2011 figures show that in April last year, almost 475,000 households were renting their accommodation. The spurt in letting has led to a sharp drop in overall home ownership. In 2006, that rate was 74.7 per cent but it has now fallen back to 69.7 per cent.

The Central Statistics Office published a report today, Profile 4 The Roof over our Heads – Housing in Ireland, which examines the characteristics of the more than 1.6 million permanent dwellings currently found in Ireland. Of those, 289,451 were unoccupied at the time of the census.

As the arrears crisis continued, the Census asked respondents about mortgages and employment. Of the 583,148 homes which are owned through an existing mortgage or loan, more than 50,000 are headed by a person who is unemployed.

The increase in apartments as an accommodation type in Ireland continued between 2006 and 2011 with 177,587 occupied apartments in 2011, an increase of 27 per cent on the 2006 figure. Apartments comprised 10.9 per cent of all occupied households in 2011 and accounted for almost one-third of all household types in Dublin City, the highest of any local authority area.

Foreign nationals and “smaller homes”

The CSO has also described the “smaller sized homes” as being “back in vogue”. Since 2002, there are more households living in properties with three rooms or less. However, non-Irish nationals were more likely to have fewer rooms with just one in eight Irish households having a maximum of three rooms.

In urban areas households headed by non-Irish nationals paid an average of €181 per week to private landlords, slightly higher than €178 paid by Irish householders. Rents were broadly similar for both groups in rural areas.

Apart from British nationals, home ownership rates among non-Irish nationals remains low. The number of Polish householders with a loan or mortgage increased from 648 in 2006 to 1,820 in 2011, while for residents from the remaining accession states the number of mortgaged households rose by 73 per cent from 1,537 to 2,658 over the five year period.

Unoccupied properties

The number of vacant houses in Ireland actually fell between 2006 and 2011. There were 284,935 empty houses six years ago but only 168,427 last year. However, the number of vacant apartments rose by 48 per cent over the same five year period, with increases recorded in every county.

Holiday homes, of which there are almost 60,000, comprise three per cent of the country’s total housing stock. At 10,636, Donegal had the highest number of empty holiday homes. About half of all holiday homes are located within one kilometre of the coast.

Meanwhile, the CSO has also provided the latest residential property price index which shows a bounce-back in July. Prices rose by 0.2 per cent last month, turning around the 1.1 per cent decline noted in June.

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