Surprise, surprise, the Irish are not tops when it comes to owning the home they live in.
Here in EU-land, the top place goes to the…Romanians! Yes, they manage better than most to own their homes. On their heels are the Croatians followed by the Bulgarians and then the Lituanians…the list goes on…all the way until you get to the Irish.
The Irish comes in at just about the EU average. Currently, various estimates put Irish homeownership levels at the low 70’s (Irish statistics weren’t reported for the latest Eurostat compilation).
In fact, when we look beyond the confines of the EU, Ireland surprisingly ranks well below some countries.
In China for example, homeownership levels in the major metropolitan areas of Beijing and Shanghai are estimated to be in the mid-80% range. In fact, across China, in an effort to dampen the appetite to own property, municipal authorities there variously introduced significant Capital Gains Taxes on investment properties and second homes. So, as consumers sought to get around the new tax laws, couples began filing for divorce…some called it the Capital Gains Split!
Outside of the major Chinese cities, homeownership levels are much higher.
Beyond China, other countries with very high levels of homeownership are:
Singapore – 90%
India – 86%
Russia – 84%
Mexico – 80%
Brazil – 74%
USA – 65%
Of course, homeownership is different across countries. In Romania for example, a very low percentage of mortgages are used by homeowners to finance property purchase whereas in major Chinese urban centres and across the US, the opposite is true.
What is important, especially in light of the current debate on higher deposit requirements here in Ireland is that we do not have an exceptionally high level of homeownership here.
It is also worth nothing that the current rate of mortgage drawdown in Ireland is on par with 1978 levels so there also no runaway credit boom, far from it!
The desire to own one’s home is not just an Irish one, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, Brazilians all want the same thing…to own their home and so, we really have to ask, what’s wrong with that?