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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
rental trap

"We're paying more in rent to a landlord than we would in a mortgage - that's just pointless"

Attendees at KBC’s ‘mortgage lounge’ in midweek don’t see any future in staying in Ireland’s rental market.

File Photo New figures from the Central Statistics Office shows that residential property prices on a nationwide basis rose by 1.3% in September. Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

It’s so achievable – it really is.

SUCH IS THE opening salvo of speaker Sarah Ridge, Grand Canal Hub manager with KBC Ireland at the company’s Mortgage Lounge at Dublin’s Mansion House this week.

What is a mortgage lounge when it’s at home you may ask? Well it’s a sort of mortgage tour for first time buyers/the uninitiated with professionals from the various strands relevant to any house application bringing people through the whole process from start to finish – so solicitors, estate agents, and, of course, mortgage providers.


About 400 people have shown up for the event, running the full length of the spectrum: old (some of them checking things out for their children, some present out of curiosity), young, national and non-national, couples and singles. And, per the above quote, positivity is the name of the game. “Think of it as a series of steps,” says KBC’s Conor McGowan.

It’s KBC’s effort (another is planned for Cork over the coming weeks) to stamp their brand across the mortgage market now that the company has committed to maintaining its Irish business going forward. No window for sharing the information that the Belgium-headquartered bank is “the largest mortgage provider in Ireland” goes a-begging.

To be fair, the presentations are not mere lip service – they’re informative, particularly from a legal and numbers (what size mortgage are you entitled to under Central Bank rules being an obvious point for one, the help-to-buy scheme explained for another) point of view, and there are no evident complaints from the various attendees.


“Yeah, well we might have been a bit hazy beforehand but we’re fairly well-informed after this,” say Helen and Karl, a couple who have recently returned from abroad and are looking to buy in the “greater Dublin area” before the end of the year.

We’re just looking to get our ducks in a row really. Rents are only going up, so we’re looking to get cracking.


That rents in Dublin are becoming basically unmanageable (’s latest report, released this week, shows rents around the country are rising at their fastest rate on record) is the single prevailing thread to emerge from talking to attendees. If there are any nerves that people might over-commit themselves, or that another crash could be in the offing, or just at what can be an intimidating process generally, they aren’t particularly evident.

Jerome and his wife, Nigerians who have been living in Swords, Co Dublin, for over 10 years, say they are “sick of paying more to our landlord than we would in a mortgage”.

“It’s just pointless,” he says.

The couple are not seeking new information, rather they are looking to confirm what they already know.

We’re fairly far along to be honest, we know most of what we need to know. Now we want to be done with it in the next couple of months. Why keep paying the landlord?

‘It’s the right time’

“It’s just the rents alright, they’re only going one way” agrees Ronan, a microbiologist from Co Meath.

He’s looking to buy (alone, “at the moment”) in north County Dublin and says that he’s “lucky to have a good job which means I can save”.

I won’t be looking to buy beyond my means like, so I’m not really worried about it. I just came to educate myself really, to make a start.

Henry, a 32-year-old aircraft leasing agent based in Dublin, but looking to build with his partner in the west of Ireland, says “he knows very little about what’s involved, at the moment anyway”.

Rent isn’t really an issue for him. “It’s just the right time relationship-wise, for us both,” he says.

It’s a point that KBC themselves are keen to hammer home.

“Some may say the market is a little tricky at present, but really there’s never been a better time to buy,” says McGowan. “Rents are more expensive than a mortgage would be, so why not?”.

Rent: Look around the Guinness stately home that inspired U2 and Marianne Faithful

Rent: ‘Time for Dublin to grow up’ – Irish rents are now rising at their fastest rate EVER

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