Following the publication of the Quarterly Financial Accounts by the Central Bank, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has said that the data points to the extent of housing inequality in Ireland.

“The data shows that household net worth has increased by 2.1 per cent in quarter 4 of 2017.  This means that household net worth has now surpassed that of the last peak in 2007.  While this is positive and needs to be acknowledged, the underlying data points to the growing level of housing inequality in Ireland.

“The primary driver of household net worth over the last number of years has been the increase in the value of housing stock which increased by €8.5 billion in quarter 4 of 2017.  This serves to highlight the crisis in the supply of housing but it also means that those who cannot buy a house are being left out in the cold.

“Put simply those who do not own a home yet are not feeling the increase in household net worth.  Last year the Central Statistics Office published data which showed that the home ownership level has fallen to a level last seen in 1971.  More and more people are not seeing the benefits of owning their own homes.  This is particularly the case for younger people who are entering the labour force.

“Data from Daft yesterday showed that rents across the board continue to rise at an alarming rate.  The more rents increase, the harder it is for people to go on and eventually own their own home.  All this data put together gives us a picture of the growing wealth inequality in Ireland.

“The Government can no longer ignore this issue.  While the Minister yesterday made another announcement about confiscating private land for development, he wilfully ignored the vast amount of zoned land owned by the State that is currently lying idle.

“If the supply of housing continues to lag behind, rents will continue to rise and rise and the hope of owning a home for large parts of a generation will be lost.  This cannot be allowed to happen”, concluded McGrath.