‘I did everything right and I still can’t move out of home’ – Meet the generation of young workers stuck living with their parents

As the housing crisis bites, many full-time workers in their 20s and 30s are choosing to stay at home rather than fly the nest. Amy Blaney and Amy Donohoe report

With the cost of rent and utility bills soaring, almost 40pc of full-time workers under 35 are now living at home with their parents.

Nichole Weldon says the housing situation in Dublin is 'disheartening'

Kayla Gaffney, from Finglas

Michael Halpin, from Skerries

Mary Ishabiya, from Blanchardstown

DCU graduate Aoife Raeside, from Tallaght

Amy Blaney and Amy Donohoe

With the cost of rent and utility bills soaring, almost 40pc of full-time workers under 35 are now living at home with their parents.

According to the latest Eurostat figures, 62pc of 18 to 34-year-olds in Ireland were still living at home last year. Of those, 37pc were in full-time employment.

Although housing has been high on the government agenda, spiralling rents and a lack of affordable accommodation has forced a younger generation to remain at home.

Independent.ie spoke to a number of full-time workers in their 20s who are stuck living at home with their parents.

Kayla Gaffney (26), from Finglas

Kayla Gaffney, from Finglas

Kayla, who works in the Access department in Trinity College, is living at home with her parents and sharing her bedroom with her partner. They have a deposit for a mortgage saved, but cannot find a house in Dublin.

“I pay my mam and dad monthly rent. My brother and I still live at home. My partner is staying with us too, we have our deposit ready for a mortgage, but can’t get anywhere,” she said.

“We’re hoping to get somewhere to live around Finglas, but the house prices are just crazy around here. I don’t see us getting a house in Dublin.

“Most houses around me are about €400,000,” she said, adding that the Luas extension into Finglas will “drive up prices even more”.

“We’ve to look outside Dublin. We could only afford an apartment here and that’s not what I want long-term.”

Kayla feels like she’s still a child because she’s living at home and doesn’t have the freedom to do what she wants.

“It’s a weird dynamic. Even to this day, I still feel like I need to tell my ma and da where I’m going because it’s their house.

“When I’m out and about I feel more independent, but when I’m home it feels like I’m reliving my teenage years. It’s like I’m reliving my childhood,” she said.

Nichole Weldon (24), from north Dublin

Nichole Weldon says the housing situation in Dublin is 'disheartening'

Nichole has moved back to Ireland from Australia and said the housing situation is “disheartening”.

“I did everything right. I did my Leaving Cert, went to college, did my masters, got a good job and I still can’t move out of home,” she said.

Nichole, who works in the civil service, is living with her grandparents.

“I’m at the age now where I’m craving my own place. I’ve been finding it hard to navigate that. I lived in Australia about three years ago. I was really homesick… so I came home to finish college and do a masters.

“I took out a student loan and I had to work three jobs during my masters just to get me through college. I’m paying off that loan and paying my grandparents rent, along with my food shopping.

“I can’t even afford to rent a room anywhere else. I can’t even save for a mortgage because any spare money I have I use to do things with my friends.

Nichole feels as if her mental health is being impacted by the current housing problems.

“I work from home most of the week, but I’ve noticed that my mental health has been declining because I’m in my room all the time.

“I’m still living at home; I’m never going to get out of the never-ending rat race,” she said.

Nichole said getting a mortgage is “unrealistic” and is considering moving abroad again.

“I don’t see myself staying in Ireland… It’s unrealistic for me to buy or rent an apartment here.

“Most of my friends are emigrating ... I’ll probably go with them and that makes me sad. I love my grandparents and my family, there’s only so many years you can get with everyone. It’s very depressing,” she said.

Michael Halpin (25), from Skerries

Michael Halpin, from Skerries

Michael has a master's degree in Law from DCU and works full-time as a regulatory reporting analyst.

“I would love to be able to get out and rent my own place but with rent prices being absolutely astronomical, it’s not feasible to do it on a graduate salary,” he said.

Michael is currently saving to get a mortgage and said he is waiting for prices to drop before he starts looking.

“It will probably be in the next couple of years rather than anytime soon, unfortunately,” he said.

“For the money that people around my age are getting paid, you wouldn’t be able to afford a social life or other things outside of living at your parents’ house. It’s not feasible at the moment, which is very sad.

“A couple of my mates are living abroad, and their rent is a tuppence compared to what you would be paying here. Here you would be talking two grand plus for the same apartment.”

He said the rising cost of living is a factor in him remaining at home.

“If I wanted to move out, I might be able to afford an apartment but I probably wouldn’t be able to afford a weekly shop or to pay bills. It would be very difficult to have a decent lifestyle,” he said.

Michael would ideally like to rent a one-bedroom apartment or share with friends, but “it’s just way too expensive, the rent is way too high”.

Michael said he has considered moving abroad short-term so he can save for a house in Ireland.

“I would be looking at moving abroad if it didn’t improve and then potentially moving back once I had developed my financial situation,” he said.

Mary Ishabiya (23), from Blanchardstown

Mary Ishabiya, from Blanchardstown

Mary’s “dream” of owning her own home is not something she can accomplish on her own as prices are “unreasonable”.

Mary, who works as a full-time internal auditor, said “the cost is probably the biggest issue”.

“Then there are places that are just unreasonable. If you want a one-bedroom place and it costs upwards of €1,500, that’s not reasonable at all.

“It’s important to have your own space, and I think it’s kind of like the right to adulthood,” she said.

“I would like to buy a property but that’s probably not something I can accomplish on my own.”

She said the alternative is to rent, but “it doesn’t make sense to pay such a large amount when I could stay at home. The goal would be a nice one or two-bedroom house”.

Mary feels there is “no incentive” for people on a graduate salary to save as the cost of homes in Dublin is beyond their reach.

“I don’t think there’s much out there to help us get on the property ladder,” she said.

“There is no assistance and no incentive to save. Even if you save €20,000 over the course of four years, unless your income is like €100,000-a-year, you’re not going to be able to afford a place in Dublin,” she said.

“Most people [graduates] are earning between like 25 to maybe €35,000.”

“It’s very highly priced and you are competing against other people so you might be bidding more, making it even higher.”

Mary said “realistically, it will probably take five or six more years to get my own place, but the income needs to increase substantially”.

While trying to save for a mortgage Mary has considered giving up her car.

“The only reason I have my car is just to help my parents, if it wasn’t for that I would have given it up a long time ago,” she said.

Aoife Raeside, (23) from Tallaght

DCU graduate Aoife Raeside, from Tallaght

Aoife works as video/social media reporter and feels like she is missing out on the chance of being independent.

“I’m living in my childhood bedroom. I live with my parents and I’ve been here since I came home from the Coombe 23 years ago,” she said.

“I really want to move out but it’s too hard. When you’re from Dublin, it feels like there isn’t a rush on moving out, it feels so normal and easy because so many people stay home.

“People outside of Dublin normally move out to go to college, but anyone in Dublin usually stays at home.”

Aoife would prefer to live in Dublin, but she can’t justify spending so much money to live here, when she can spend the exact same, or less, to live in another city.

“I love Dublin, it’s my home. I’ll move away for a year or two and come back. I’d rather spend big money to live in a big city than spend the exact same to live here,” she said.

“I want to live with friends, have fun and be happy. I would be so happy to live in Dublin but it’s not possible. I want to spread my wings and finally be completely independent.”

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