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Wednesday 7 June 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# nothin' goin' on but the rent
"I would never buy a property again," says Government's top housing adviser. "I rent"
Conor Skehan says Irish people must stop thinking of renting as ‘dead money’.

THE GOVERNMENT’S TOP housing policy adviser has said that he would never buy a home again and is committed to renting.

Conor Skehan of the Housing Agency made the shock admission to Matt Cooper as part of a TV3 documentary set to be broadcast tonight.

In the programme, ‘Ireland, What’s Next: The Housing Crisis’, Skehan says that many Irish people continue to regard renting as ‘dead money’, a perception he say we need to get away from.

“Well, I’m the chairman of the Housing Agency and I will never buy a piece of property again. I rent,” he said.

Skehan goes on to say that, “we’ve completely lost the connection between rental values in Ireland and that still has to sink into people’s minds.”

He adds that Irish people need to move away from the feeling that they should profit from housing, saying that, “Irish expectations of the value of land for housing are disconnected from reality.”

The documentary also sees Cooper travelling to Germany, where nearly half the population rents rather than buys property, to examine whether this approach should be adopted in Ireland.

The broadcast comes at a time when both property prices and rental prices are rising rapidly and consistently, with complaints that first-time buyers are being priced out of the market.

ecb TV3 Nearly half of the German population rents their home. TV3

The recent decision by the Central Bank to tighten mortgage lending rules has also received a mixed reaction.

Cooper speaks to Cork property developer Michael O’Flynn as part of the programme. It follows O’Flynn’s successful High Court action which saw him maintain control of his group of companies under pursuit from a US investment group.

“The scale of criticism towards developers was extraordinary,” Cooper said ahead of the broadcast of the programme.

“I can’t see this market recovering without developers. But there are people who don’t believe there is any role for developers. When that crazy misunderstanding exists by a lot of people in this country, you’re not going to solve the development situation.”

‘Ireland, What’s Next: The Housing Crisis’ airs tonight at 9pm on TV3.

Read: Government housing adviser: This is not a crisis, prices have a “natural braking mechanism” >

Read: Opinion: Six things that need to change in Ireland’s rental market >

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