In a country where the economy is as susceptible to financial highs and lows as daffodil petals are to a spring breeze, Ireland, can be difficult to stay up and running. If you are one of the lucky ones that manages to make a start and secure a bit of cash from a bank or broker, beware, it can be difficult to stay in the comfortable position of being able to keep everything ticking over. Rates of interest, Unemployment, Children are all the conditions that can seriously affect your ability to repay and therefore to sustain you’re hard won mortgage/lifestyle/eternal noose.
Finding a mortgage/home/roof over your head can become somewhat of a crock at the end of a rainbow. When I lived in Ireland property prices were high but that time it was possible to secure finance on a property priced at 450k, while you were earning 65k for a ‘marketing’ job. We were running rich. Flooded with finance. We wanted, we got and paid later. We signed top up mortgages as simply as changing a pair of jeans in Penney’s. We secured overdraughts on already struggling credit cards. The cost of a site with planning permission was somewhere between 65k and to the moon and back.
We learned the hard way that too much fuel wasn’t the best way to keep the engine running. We crashed and burned. Pulled up on the hard should for a couple of years. Shell-shocked from the sudden and massive decent we vowed never to make the same mistakes again. If we would survive, we would adjust our expectation and lifestyle to suit our income. We would live within our means (after we handed the house keys back to the bank). We ran lean, and it proved that too much air and not enough fuel in the engine didn’t make a smooth ride either. The number of people on the live register soared, the amount of money being generated in the economy plummeted, and we coughed and sputtered to an undramatic halt. Your dream house was on the market for 90k but it didn’t matter because we were broke. What a crock.
But God is good and the last while has seen prospects and spirits rise. Fuerteventura is back on the annual bucket list. So is building on a sunroom, trading up the car and a couple of nights away in Kenmare. The redness has gone off the sting and for the first time in twenty years, we’re beginning to tick over nicely. Considered finance is available. For the first time in a long time the house you wanted looks doable. Manageable mortgages are being offered and half the country are surviving on credit union loans to bridge the gaps between just existing and extending the kitchen. Which by and large are working out because they’re manageable amounts for reasonable requests, no helicopters or Bentleys allowed.
However no sooner does the comfortable ticking over sound come to my attention than I begin to notice a revving somewhere in the distance. The house that was 185k last year is 265k this year and is gradually is getting as unachievable as the gold as the end of the rainbow. The familiar sound of ambition causing a slight vibration in the air, an imminent hum. It seems that here in Ireland we don’t do well with just ticking over, we want more. Bigger houses, nicer cars, better schools, more holidays. We want it all and on 55k a year, how can that work? It can’t. Ticking over means, buying an affordable house, driving a moderate car, driving to five different supermarkets to get the best value in shopping, now who wants to life like that, not many in Ireland, it seems.
I’m no economist but I have been on both sides of that fence and I would estimate that time is ticking for this ticking over period, ‘BUY NOW’ because at the rate property is rising again in Ireland, what is now 200k will be like 900k next year and before we know we’ll be back fully on the road and running rich.