herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Why moving back with mam and dad is often your only option

According to research, over a quarter of 25 to 34-year-olds are moving back to the family home to save for a deposit. Vicki Notaro finds out what it's really like to go from independent living to sharing a roof with your parents

"How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)" stars Brad Garrett as Max, Stephanie Hunt as Jenn, Sarah Chalke as Polly, Rachel Eggleston as Natalie, Elizabeth Perkins as Elaine and Jon Dore as Julian. (ABC/BOB D'AMICO)
How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)
Claire Nolan and Andy Flannery
Corah McGuirk

Research last week by Aviva revealed that more than a quarter of people surveyed in the 25-34 age bracket have moved home with their parents to save for a deposit for their own home.

With new regulations meaning that buying property in Dublin often requires a 20pc mortgage, it seems young people are realising that paying rent and trying to save for such a lump sum is nigh on impossible, and are returning to the family home in order to scratch together the tens of thousands now required.

The same survey also revealed that 69pc of those questioned think that the expectation of owning a home is now unrealistic in Ireland.

I'm one of those people. I moved out of home more than seven years ago at the age of 22, and have been renting ever since.

I don't even want to think about the amount of money I've spent on rent, as totting it up would more than likely give me palpitations. But at the same time, in my opinion it's been money well spent.

To me, saving for a deposit at the moment is a pipe dream. I put away what I can each month, but it's nowhere near what's required to approach the bank about a mortgage.

However, I don't have any intentions of going back home in order to save like many others my age.

Not that it's bad there - on the contrary, it's lovely. But once I left home, I left for good. I've adjusted to independent living, my parents have become accustomed to their own space, and it works for everyone as it is.

I'm sure they'd be as thrilled at the notion of me returning to my childhood bed as I would.

All the while, it's fantastic knowing that if anything were ever to go spectacularly wrong in my life, that same single bed would still be there - and my parents, with open arms.

For me, it's not an option because the notion of owning my own home has never been a major goal.

Sure, it would be nice, but it's not a necessity. For some people though, it's just a must.

Many my age, and even younger, can't stand the thought of shelling out money each month to a landlord when they could be saving for their future, or just believe that owning property is something an adult should do.

People often speak of Ireland becoming a nation of renters in hushed tones, filled with horror.

But I don't think it's such a bad thing, and it certainly seems to work around the world. It does seem to be a national state of mind - to want to own your own land, bricks and mortar.

But the expectation on young people to go out and buy their own home from an early age is quite a dangerous one - the amount of peers I know living much further away from the city centre than they'd like, and still in negative equity, is frightening.

I'm personally happy renting because it means freedom to up and leave when I want to, and also that I get to live in areas of Dublin I could never in a million years dream of buying in.

Buying a home means putting down permanent roots, and why would I want to do that without trying a few different areas on for size?

I live in Dublin 7 now, which has suddenly become incredibly popular. A house I could have perhaps thought about buying two years ago has now shot up in value, meaning the deposit required is simply unattainable while paying rent.

But to me, it's not paying rent that's actually the problem; it's the fact that I'd need €30,000 saved to even approach a bank for a mortgage. Yes, rents are being hiked again, but I pay the same amount now to live in a lovely cottage with a large back garden minutes from the city centre as I did for a one-bedroom third floor apartment in Stillorgan back in 2008.

We need more rights and regulations for renters, but we're not quite at Celtic Tiger levels of ridiculous just yet, and it's not like I don't get anything out of it - I get a roof over my head, to live with my boyfriend, to have two dogs and even to decorate and own my own furniture.

Still, I know many people who have decamped to the family home to save the vast majority of the cash they'd stump up to landlords each month towards buying a place of their own.

The hope is that in a year or two, they can fly the nest permanently, get their own name on the deeds to a home, and live there happily ever after.

Corah McGuirk is a 27-year-old beauty therapist from Rathfarnham. She moved home in February of this year, having lived independently on and off since 2011.

"I've wanted to buy my own home since I came home from travelling in 2012. I always thought that renting was dead money, and knew I was getting too old to be living at home.

"The driving force to buy came from the fact that I knew I was going to be moving home for a while, and I don't want to be there for too long!"

Corah has been saving for years already. "I've always had money coming out of my wages to pay off student loans, so when they were finished, the money still kept going into my savings account. Now that I'm at home, I'm able to save a lot more and generally put away just under half my wages per week. I don't go out that much because I just can't afford both."

For Corah, living at home is going well so far.

"It's nice to be at home. My parents are so supportive and help me out as much as they can. I have been finishing a college course while working full-time, mostly 12-hour shifts, so I'm not there much at all generally - just to cook, shower and sleep!

"I'm hoping to buy next year, ideally. Saving is going well, so I'm happy and on track. I haven't picked an area yet because if I see something I really like I will be disappointed I can't have it!"

Claire Nolan, a 29-year-old civil servant from Santry, has never fled the nest.

"I have always lived at home. I would've loved to move out but it didn't make sense financially. I would have been spending all my money on rent and bills, and limited what holidays I could have taken and things like that.

"I was really tempted at one stage when a friend bought her apartment to move in with her, but when I looked at it thoroughly, there was no point."

Now though, buying a home is high on Claire's list of priorities. She wants to move in with her 35-year-old boyfriend Andy, but the pair decided to stay with their respective parents to save.

However, Andy is preparing to move in with Claire and her family at the end of the summer until the couple have reached their financial target.

"We have spoken so much over the last two and a half years about moving in together, but we decided that while we really want to live together, we wouldn't be able to afford to rent and save while still having a life!" explains Claire.

For her, this is a long time coming. "I have always wanted to own my home. It's always just seemed like the one big thing I wanted to do.

"I remember when I was younger going through the Argos catalogue with my friends and we would pick out what we would put in our houses!

"When I started going out with Andy it became even more important to me for us to own a home together and creating our life together.

"For me, it was more of an easy option than a decision," says Andy, who has lived abroad previously.

"It was very easy to get on with enjoying the day to day at home with the parents without thinking about the future, until I met Claire.

"From very early on I knew I wanted to get everything straightened out and start on a track to having our own place and putting down roots."

The pair now have a joint savings account for their house, and aim to be approaching banks in about 18 months.

"I think that we are so lucky to be in a position that we don't have to move out and spend a huge amount of money on rent, and that our families are happy for us to continue living with them while we save," says Claire.

"My sister is also moving back into my mam's house this year as she can't really afford to rent, so there's been work done in order to fit us all in!"

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