The number of homeowners rose across the country in 2020 as the impact of the pandemic saw more people eschew the vagaries of the rental market for the security – and potential space – of their own home.
The increase was sharpest in Dublin, with the numbers owning a property increasing by 8 per cent, up from 848,700 at the end of 2019 to 916,400 at the end of 2020, according to preliminary unpublished figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). At the same time, overall occupied dwellings in the capital rose by just 1 per cent.
Dermot O’Leary, chief economist with Goodbody Stockbrokers, says the data shows how the pandemic has triggered “a remarkable shift in the way we work and the way we live”, by catalysing people into shifting out of renting and into buying their own home.
Lorcan Sirr, a senior lecturer in housing at Technological University Dublin, agrees that the pandemic has caused a shift.
“The pandemic brought home why people needed more space, both mentally and physically. People in rental accommodation saw how vulnerable they were,” he says, adding that “for people who nearly had a deposit, the pandemic gave them the opportunity to put it together much quicker”.
With a chief economist and a senior lecturer pointing towards a culture shift, would anyone like to speculate how one source of data can estimate the numbers of people owning their own home in Dublin increasing by almost 58,000 when the Property Price Register suggests that there were only 14,658 transactions where homes were bought in 2020. A net 4 people would have to have taken ownership of each property? Might it be that younger people and students have gone back to their parent’s homes and are now filling out the questionnaire as to whether the place they are living in is owner occupied as opposed to renting?