Trying to buy a home during the housing crisis: the reality of my family's situation
No one wants to be a first-time buyer during a housing crisis... but here I am.
Having only just managed to save up a deposit recently, I just missed the small window (circa 2012-2014) when housing was affordable.
Now - and with two small kids to consider - I can look forward to bidding wars and queues of potential buyers at each viewing. Because when it comes to housing at least, the boom is very much back.
Growing up in a low-income household, the Celtic Tiger wasn't relevant to me. We certainly weren't going to New York for a Christmas shopping, or drinking Moet on Tuesday evenings (or ever, for that matter). All of that passed us by. The only time the boom affected my life was when it crashed.
Now an adult, married with two children, I find myself repeatedly hearing how the housing situation right now is 'just like the boom'. So where does that leave me?
I remember when interviewed about buying property a couple of years ago, Pippa O'Connor said she would encourage young people not to saddle themselves with a mortgage and rent instead. And I get her sentiment. However, unfortunately for a lot of people - myself included - this is just not a long-term option.
When I began renting nine years ago there was no shortage of places. I have been renting my current apartment for seven years, but as my lifestyle needs have changed so has the rental market. Now trying to find a private rental property for a family-of-four in Dublin is next to impossible.
There are also increasing cases of renters finding themselves without a home when their landlord decides to put the property up for sale or give it to a family-member to rent. Knowing that this could happen to myself and my own family, buying a home is the only, long-term secure option.
Buying right now is no easy feat and neither of my parents ever bought property so I have no frame of reference on what the process will entail. All I know is that it's going to be a hard slog... and no matter how many first-time buyer events I attend.
Between saving for the deposit and applying for mortgages my energy has already waned - before I've gotten anywhere near a property. Seeing articles about prospective buyers having to camp and queue for days just to put a deposit down is disheartening. Then I hear from my friends who have bought homes how it was tough enough for them a few years ago - and anyone trying to buy now is just mad.
It makes me want to give up before I've even begun. And don't get me started on the 'what ifs' when it comes to another property crash.
But - out of pure necessity - I'm going to stick with it. I'm going to keep looking, keep hopeful, and keep dreaming that the reality of a home for my husband and two children will be realised in the near future.
Wish me luck!