That's all very well but I think you're missing the poster's point.Absolutely disagree with you on this. You must take an overall approach to your finances. They are all part of the same long term plan. They are all forms of savings with different characteristics. The big downside of pensions is that they cannot be accessed for 40 years. That is no good to someone who is having a problem paying their mortgage.
You have to view the two aspects of "owning a home" independently: it's a long term investment (which can be compared to other investments) but also something which delivers utility, comfort, security, etc. in contrast to renting. The latter is rather a subjective area and depends too much on personal circumstance and outlook to allow us to reach general conclusions here. I think it's fair to examine the former aspect coldly and objectively.
Accepting that we cannot predict asset class price movements, the only two sensible things a long term investor can do is minimise transaction costs/overheads associated with the investment and - just as importantly - aim for as much diversification as possible. I presume you accept this?
On this basis, recommending someone put every penny of their savings into a single illiquid asset class (Irish residential property) for the first half of their earning life is terrible advice. You achieve zero diversification and the transaction cost and investment overheads are huge. You cannot balance this lopsided riskiness out by putting all your money into equities for the last 10/15 years - you are still taking on a big amount of completely unneccessary risk compared to investing in global equities over a 40 year period.
If you are going to consider the options for your money in terms of investment parameters (and you rightly repeatedly point out that your home is a financial asset), then it is clear to me that the simple principles of low-costs high-diversification are completely violated by your suggestion.
To argue about whether IO is justifiable or not only makes sense if you accept the premise that it is sensible to stretch yourself as much as possible to buy the biggest house you can. I don't accept this and in fact find a lot of the reasoning here somewhat backwards - you are going to great lengths and years of frugal living in order to minimise transaction costs and mitigate against other horrible features of this investment class (such as the fact that it requires a ginormous minimum investment and requires a commitment to a 25 to 30 year schedule of payments - contrast with most unit/pension funds where you can invest 5k one month and nothing for the next three years depending on your circumstances) when you should be asking yourself the more fundamental question about whether this asset class should constitute the vast majority of your savings/investments.
I think not and I could only recommend people even start consider buying when the yields return to normal historical levels and the decision becomes a simple trade off between security and flexibility.
Again this is a false argument. Most of us would agree that buying a house is a good long term financial plan.
What evidence have you for such claims? I think this has nothing to do with sensible finance and more to do with our Irish culture.It's important to note that buying a home gives more than financial benefits.
It's been an eye opener for me living for a few months in a country where these "truisms" are not only seen as not being evident at all but in fact are generally viewed as being completely false.
The only people who buy here are a small number generally well into their 30s or foreigners - the later usually regretting it within months. The difference is that this is a "normal" market where yields (rents) and asset values (house prices) display the normal rational historic relationship; I believe the huge temporary property misspricing in Ireland has misled you. Here less than 20% of the population "own" their home here and yet this is one of the wealthiest in the world. People are far more inclined to pay heavily into an (equities based) pension, rent a nice place in an convenient area (moving when necessary) and spend the money left over on ski holidays, sports cars or outrageously priced model railway sets.
This seems to be a completely sensible approach to life's finances when contrasted with the Irish approach where the "must buy a house" mantra impoverishes you for years (time wasted on the young and all that) forcing many to completely compromise their lifestyle (commuting) just so your kids will have something to squabble over when you die.