The news wasn’t good for thousands of hopeful homeowners and for those of us renting.
A few weeks ago, I become the latest casualty of the housing crisis.
After years of living it up in the city, I had to move home to Ballydesmond, my home village on the Cork/Kerry border, where everyone knows your name and knows your business most of the time.
I suppose, from growing up in a place with fewer than 1,000 people and an hour’s drive from Cork city, I was itching to get out of here when I went to college 18 years ago.
Now, I know Cork is not New York, but when you grow up somewhere quiet like Ballydesmond, then a trip to the city is a day out and the good clothes are out.
It’s kind of a big deal — and if truth be told, there are many parishioners who still haven’t driven the Kinsale Road Roundabout yet — they fear it too much. Instead, they park up at Wilton Shopping Centre and get the 214 into town. Like I said — it’s a big day out.
Well, the house I had been renting for the past 10 months went up for sale and I had to vacate it.
On receiving the news that it was going to be sold, I did look up many homes to rent. I stalked daft.ie every day, my phone log was full of calls to auctioneers... but it was proving impossible.
And I wasn’t being picky, I was willing to live anywhere. Suburbs, commuter towns — even granny flats.
Usually I get lucky and something turns up, but no, this time it just wasn’t working out.
The minimum monthly rent for a a two-bedroom house I looked up was going for €1,500. The most reasonable one bedroom apartment I came across was €1,200. These were the lowest ones.
I thought to myself, I am in the wrong job — what are people working at to say they can afford this?
Let me tell you, I viewed some places that could only be described as skips. One place I saw — the filth was unbearable and it was going for €1,000 a month. I would have been on my own, but no doubt with the company of rats!
The place was rented out the following week. How are landlords getting away with this?
Then, some people commented to me saying: “Sure, go and get a mortgage.”
Oh ya — as if it is that simple. It’s not like going to pick up a takeaway.
How is a single girl like me meant to get a mortgage just out of thin air?
And can I make a point, just because the likes of me don’t have one, please stop shaming us.
It’s funny, as I saw someone comment online about me, saying: “I mean, like, she still rents, she doesn’t even have a mortgage at her age.”
I just don’t get where this superiority complex is coming from? There is definitely such a thing as mortgage shaming.
Ever since I was young, I never saw myself as someone who would take on such debt. I have a sense of freedom that I don’t have one hanging over me.
It’s as if those who have massive mortgages have one up on me. Being in debt is nothing to be proud of.
After exhausting all the options, I found it impossible to find anywhere to rent in Cork. So there was only one thing I could do, and that was move back to the sticks.
One person said: “Do you feel like a bit of a failure now you had to move home?”
I also got the “You’ll never manage going back home, you’d be a burden on your parents”.
On the contrary, as soon as I realised I had to move home, I said to myself: “Aren’t I the lucky one actually, that I have parents who will welcome me with open arms?”
They are both still alive and in great health and, being honest, are a great laugh.
I am very mindful this is their home and I am grateful I have a roof over my head and can give them their space.
I see so many other people in the same boat as me, and I also really want to point out — there is no shame in moving back in with the folks. I think it’s kinda cool now, having parents to move in with. It’s only when we get older we appreciate them more.
Many couples have also had to move in with their parents, and many of them have separated and moved home without one another so that they can save. It’s the times we are in.
And if the current imbalance continues, it will only result in greater inflationary pressures in house and rent prices, so there are going to be more and more people like me moving back home with the folks.
So let’s make it cool and be grateful we have a place to go, and that our parents are still alive — and while we are doing it, look after them.
After all, there is no place like home.
Home is where the heart is.