News & Media

CSO figures highlight the challenge single people face when buying a home

16 June 2021

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has said that home ownership must be a legitimate aspiration for single people. Highlighting figures released by the CSO today, Senator Moynihan said Government needs to stop basing housing policy on joint incomes. With more than 400,000 people choosing to live alone in Ireland, our housing policy must reflect the changes and dynamics within our society.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Accessing affordable, secure housing is impossible for too many people. It’s becoming increasingly harder to purchase a house alone. The CSO figures outline that the proportion of properties purchased jointly increased from 47% in 2010 to just over 62% in 2019. The Government’s misguided policy approach is constricting the aspirations of home ownership only for couples. The needs of single people are being ignored.

“Our entire housing system is predicated on the belief that people should couple up and live together to make buying, or indeed renting, more affordable. No housing system should be trapping people into seeing relationships as economic leverage.

“Failing to reflect the needs of single people has a disproportionate impact on women. If a woman experiencing domestic violence lives with her abuser, escaping a domestic abusive relationship often means facing into homelessness. Between March and August 2020, 441 women were admitted to a domestic abuse refuge, safe home, or supported housing. However, there were an additional 1,351 unmet requests for refuge due to a lack of space. Many women may feel pressure to remain in an abusive home in order to avoid homelessness.

“Indeed, a report by the Simon Communities of Ireland previously warned that high-rents and pandemic related restrictions left single people the most at risk of homelessness. April’s homelessness figures showed that there are 186 more single adults experiencing homelessness compared to the same time last year, an increase of 4%. Single people are left behind and ignored by Government policy.

“I am glad to have started a national conversation on the need to provide the opportunity for single people to aspire to home ownership. Time and again, we see a bull-headed approach from the current Minister who seems unable to divorce himself from investors. Well, I would ask him to step into the shoes of divorced people, of widows, of those who have chosen to remain single. Being single isn’t a stage of life that people should want to get out of.

“Home ownership should be a legitimate aspiration for us all.”