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in crisis Ireland has the highest housing costs in the EU after ten years of surging prices

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Ireland has the highest housing costs in the European Union.

And people here are now among the least likely in Europe to own their own homes.

Home ownership rates here are low and are at levels seen in the likes of France, Austria and Denmark.

These countries traditionally have high levels of renting – as rental prices tend to be more stable and tenants have more legal protections than they do here.

The surging cost of housing and the difficulty this has led to for young people to own their own home helps explain the collapse in support for mainstream political parties.

The statistical office of the European Union, Eurostat, found that just shy of 69pc of the population of this country own their own home.

Another 31.3pc are tenants, it said.

This means we have more people renting and fewer owning their own homes than the EU average.

Some 70pc of the population across the 27 members of the EU own their own homes.

Home ownership levels are higher in former Eastern bloc countries, and in Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

House prices here were 77pc above the EU average last year, according to Eurostat.

This is due to Ireland experiencing the largest rise in prices seen in the EU between 2009 and 2019.

Rents also shot up by 63pc over the same period.

Eurostat said in a Housing Visualised release: “The highest housing costs in 2019 compared to the EU average were found in Ireland (77pc above the EU average).”

It added that between 2010 and 2019, house price levels compared to the EU average have increased in 17 member states, and decreased in 10.

“The largest increases were observed in Ireland (from 17pc above to 77pc above the EU average).”

But despite the surge in house prices and rents, housing affordability in Ireland was found to be below the EU average.

Economist with Goodbody Stockbrokers Dermot O’Leary said: “Ireland’s homeownership rate has been falling for some time, and we now have a homeownership rate that is lower than the EU average.”

He said the most notable change in home-ownership has come from the proportion “owned with a mortgage” which has fallen from 41pc in 2006 to 32pc in 2016.

This reflects a combination of the impact of the financial crisis on incomes. It also reflects the willingness or otherwise of banks to lend.

The imposition of Central Bank lending limits were also a factor, Mr O’Leary said

But he said the Eurostat data shows that affordability is not stretched in the housing market overall.

The housing cost overburden rate in urban areas stands at 6.9pc in Ireland, relative to an EU average of 11.8pc.

The housing cost overburden rate shows the share of the population living in a household where total housing costs represent more than 40pc of disposable income.

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