Retired retirees are among the “wealthier cohorts” because they own homes without a mortgage


Retirees are among the “wealthier cohorts” because they own their own homes and don’t have mortgages, TDs and senators have been told.

With around 84 percent of older people owning their own home without a mortgage, using their pensions for rent is a “relatively new phenomenon,” according to a senior Housing Department official.

Labor Senator Rebecca Moynihan raised concerns about the “elderly rent crisis” before the Oireachtas Housing Committee today.

“About 84 percent of older people own their own homes, we actually have a very high percentage of home ownership in the country. It’s a relatively new phenomenon for older people to rent,” said Caroline Timmons, a senior housing ministry official.

“A very high percentage of that population would actually be homeowners even without a mortgage, so they’re probably one of the more affluent cohorts,” she said.

“But there will be a smaller percentage that we would see on the council housing waitlist and we are looking at that. They still make up a very small percentage of the overall list.”

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that people over 65 have higher-than-average net worth.

Ms Timmons said the state’s new program, which will build 5,000 homes by giving developers up to €120,000 per home, will increase housing supply for older people looking to downsize.

She said the only “financial situation” that makes sense for developers is to build rental housing because the cost of construction is so high.

The new Crói Cónaithe (Cities) program aims to build homes by closing the profitability gap, which means they would not be built otherwise.

“It’s high on our agenda right now,” she said.

The committee was also told that half of the elderly have “some problem” with housing.

“We know from Age Action Ireland that around 31 per cent of older adults report moderate to major housing problems,” said Fiona Larthwell, who oversees the service for older people in the Department of Health’s planning unit.

“I think about half of people over the age of 50 have some problem with their home, and almost 10 percent have critical difficulty keeping the house warm.”

Officials from the two departments appeared before the committee to discuss fees for the Fair Deal program, which allows nursing home residents to keep 60 percent of the money raised from their homes if they are rented out.

Sinn Féin TD Thomas Ghould said he has been contacted by constituents because they are ineligible for the fail deal because they have taken out equity loans on their properties.

However, officials said they were unaware of this issue and that it was being addressed in their own departments. Retired retirees are among the “wealthier cohorts” because they own homes without a mortgage

Fry Electronics Team

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