Qualitative based research on the lived experience of austerity amongst mortgagors at the individual, family and community scale.
A crucial element of the economic crisis in Ireland (and resultant austerity measures in response to it) is the property crash starting in the second quarter of 2007. Given the high rates of home-ownership in Ireland, much of which came into effect at the height of the property boom, the economic collapse of 2008 has brought issues of negative equity, mortgage arrears, heavy indebtedness and increased affordability issues to the forefront of debates surrounding Ireland’s crisis. An extensive literature review stressed that fact that mortgagors who bought at the height of the boom are the most leveraged and thus the impact of increased taxation or cuts in social welfare have fostered a new economically vulnerable section of Irish society. Therefore it seemed logical to assess austerity’s impacts on mortgagors who had bought at that time.
A second aim was to assess to what extend geography influenced these experiences. Therefore interviews were carried out in both a rural and urban region that were statistically similar and comparative analysis was carried out thereafter. Results illustrated that differences in the lived experience became apparent once the individual moved beyond austerities individual effect and referred to their family but more specifically their community, with rural areas experiencing a greater negative effect associated with increased cuts in public services expenditure.