Returning Emigrants forcing up house prices

Returning Emigrants forcing up house prices

Central Statistics Office says that emigrants who have returned home are affecting house prices

By Adam Shaw

Returning emigrants are putting further pressure on Ireland’s already squeezed housing market, according to figures released by the country’s Central Statistics Office (CSO).

It said some 69,300 people came to live and work in Ireland in 2015. This equates to roughly 1,443 new people entering the country each week. And experts have warned that the number of returning Irish will put added strain on an already- fragile housing market. It follows the news that the Central Bank of Ireland will continue to implement its controversial lending policy, where strict guidelines make it tough for the many first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder.

The Central Bank requires house buyers to have significant deposits in their accounts if they are to buy or rent accommodation of their choice.

More figures released last week showed that house prices in Dublin rose by 0.9 per cent in March – up 3.9 per cent on a year ago.

Outside the capital, prices fell by a marginal 0.2 per cent in March but were 10.5 per cent higher than the same time 12 months ago.

Over the past five years, the number of immigrants to Ireland has increased by 27,500, with the majority looking for work in Dublin and other main cities. The government hopes to encourage more people to return to their homeland and intends to help 100,000 emigrants to come back over the next two years.

However, Dr David Ralph, assistant professor of sociology at Trinity College Dublin, warned that this could put a massive additional “strain” on the housing market.

He said: “It’s all well and good wanting Irish emigrants to return, but if you’re adding extra pressure on an already incredibly creaking infrastructure, it poses more problems.

“During the Celtic Tiger, returning emigrants were blamed for pushing up property prices and creating an extra strain on supply, therefore increasing prices.

“A large number of young people left the country in the past few years, but a sizeable number are now returning. “If we do attract this sort of phantom figure of 100,000 people, it’s quite obvious that house prices and rents will go up even further.”

Find out more about this and other CSO stats here: www.cso.ie

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